Lotus is an edible and medicinal plant, and the extracts from its different parts exhibit various bioactivities. In the present study, the hot water-soluble polysaccharides from lotus seeds (LSPS) were evaluated for their cancer cell cytotoxicity, immunomodulatory and antitumor activities. LSPS showed significant inhibitory effects on the mouse gastric cancer MFC cells, human liver cancer HuH-7 cells and mouse hepatocarcinoma H22 cells. The animal studies showed that LSPS inhibited tumor growth in H22 tumor-bearing mice with the highest inhibition rate of 45.36%, which is comparable to that induced by cyclophosphamide (30 mg/kg) treatment (50.79%). The concentrations of white blood cells were significantly reduced in cyclophosphamide-treated groups (p < 0.01), while LSPS showed much fewer side effects according to the hematology analysis. LSPS improved the immune response in H22 tumor-bearing mice by enhancing the spleen and thymus indexes, and increasing the levels of serum cytokines including tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-2. Moreover, LSPS also showed in vivo antioxidant activity by increasing superoxide dismutase activity, thus reducing the malondialdehyde level in the liver tissue. These results suggested that LSPS can be used as an antitumor and immunomodulatory agent.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.