Therapeutically applied mistletoe preparations are complex plant extracts containing a wide variety of substances ranging from high molecular weight proteins to low molecular weight compounds such as flavonoids and other. Among the biologically active components, the sugar—binding ML and amphiphilic membrane-active viscotoxins are at present prominent candidates in the ongoing discussion on the clinical relevance of biological effects of these drug extracts, such as cytotoxicity and immunomodulation. The large pool of further components and their role in pharmacological activity remain unclear yet. There is no doubt that some glycosylated proteins are responsible for stability of the lectins as in vitro detected for polysaccharides and non-sugar binding (glyco)proteins present in mistletoe extracts (Pfuller, unpublished results), influencing also their biological activities, and may also exert therapeutically relevant effects for their own.
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