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  • 1 School of Life Sciences, South China Normal University, Guangzhou 510631, PR, China
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Polysaccharides from litchi (Litchi chinensis) seeds were isolated and purified using ion exchange column chromatography. Molecular weight distribution of polysaccharides and monosaccharides were detected. Preliminary structural characterisation of polysaccharides was conducted using infrared, nuclear magnetic, and other spectroscopy techniques in combination with methylation analysis. In vitro cell culture experiments were designed to detect the effects of polysaccharides on cell growth and cellular glucose consumption. We extracted and analysed three polysaccharides from litchi seed. Monosaccharide composition and infrared spectroscopy detection showed that the skeleton structure of polysaccharides consisted of glucose and mannose. Polysaccharides 1 and 2 are similar and have relatively high glucose content (around 70%); polysaccharide 3 has 39.17% glucose only but is rich in arabinose (about 21.03%). In a certain range of use (50~1000 μg ml–1), polysaccharides 1 and 2 have no significant impacts on cell growth, while polysaccharide 3 can promote proliferation to some extent. All three polysaccharides can promote in vitro cellular glucose consumption, especially polysaccharide 3, which shows the strongest promotion, a significant dose effect, and synergistic effect with insulin. The above results highlight important roles of litchi seed polysaccharides in promoting cell growth and validate litchi seed polysaccharides as potential drugs for hypoglycaemia.

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