The phagocytic activity of murine peritoneal macrophages was determined by lucigenin chemiluminescence with luminometer and engulfment of fluorescein-conjugated E. coli particles. 70% MeOH extract of Lithospermi Radix was fractionated successively with hexane, methylene chloride, n-BuOH and water. The water fraction (m.w. 500 to 1,000) enhanced the lucigenin chemiluminescence and the engulfment of fluorescein-conjugated E. coli particles in murine peritoneal macrophages. The water fraction suppressed the production of nitric oxide in the macrophages. These results suggest that an active fraction of phagocytosis in Lithos-permi Radix is the water fraction and the molecular weight is 500 to 1,000.
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