We investigated the effects of oral and intravenous application of lentinan, a branched β-glucan, on the induction of long-term potentiation (LTP) in the rat dentate gyrus in vivo. Oral administration of lentinan (200 mg/kg) enhanced the induction of LTP evoked by sub-threshold tetanic stimulation (20 pulses at 60 Hz) of the perforant pathway without affecting normal synaptic potentials. Intravenous injection of the compound (0.2-10.0 mg/kg) also enhanced the induction of LTP in a bell-shaped manner, whereas it had no effect on LTP evoked by supra-threshold tetanic stimulation (100 pulses at 100 Hz). Structurally related β-glucans did not mimic the lentinan-triggered enhancement of LTP. These results suggest that peripherally applied lentinan facilitates the synaptic efficacy of the dentate gyrus neurons in vivo.
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