Bone marrow myelotoxicity is a major limitation of chemotherapy. While granulocyte colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) treatment is effective, alternative approaches to support hematopoietic recovery are sought. We previously found that a beta-glucan extract from maitake mushroom Grifola frondosa (MBG) enhanced colony forming unit-granulocyte monocyte (CFU-GM) activity of mouse bone marrow and human hematopoietic progenitor cells (HPC), stimulated G-CSF production and spared HPC from doxorubicin toxicity in vitro. This investigation assessed the effects of MBG on leukocyte recovery and granulocyte/monocyte function in vivo after dose intensive paclitaxel (Ptx) in a normal mouse. After a cumulative dose of Ptx (90–120 mg/kg) given to B6D2F1 mice, daily oral MBG (4 or 6 mg/kg), intravenous G-CSF (80 μg/kg) or Ptx alone were compared for effects on the dynamics of leukocyte recovery in blood, CFU-GM activity in bone marrow and spleen, and granulocyte/monocyte production of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Leukocyte counts declined less in Ptx + MBG mice compared to Ptx-alone (p = 0.024) or Ptx + G-CSF treatment (p = 0.031). Lymphocyte levels were higher after Ptx + MBG but not Ptx + G-CSF treatment compared to Ptx alone (p < 0.01). MBG increased CFU-GM activity in bone marrow and spleen (p < 0.001, p = 0.002) 2 days after Ptx. After two additional days (Ptx post-day 4), MBG restored granulocyte/monocyte ROS response to normal levels compared to Ptx-alone and increased ROS response compared to Ptx-alone or Ptx + G-CSF (p < 0.01, both). The studies indicate that oral MBG promoted maturation of HPC to become functionally active myeloid cells and enhanced peripheral blood leukocyte recovery after chemotoxic bone marrow injury.
Keywords: Chemotherapy, Hematotoxicity, Paclitaxel, Beta-glucan, Bone marrow and leukocyte recovery, Hematopoietic progenitor cells