Dioscorea species continue to be used in traditional Chinese medicine, and represent a major source of steroid precursors for conventional medicine. In the previous study, We isolated glycoprotein (GDB) from Dioscorea batatas, characterized, and demonstrated immunostimulating activity in C57BL/6 mice. The aim of this study was to investigate the mechanism whereby GDB activates macrophages. Macrophages activation by GDB was investigated by analyzing the effects of GDB on nitric oxide (NO) production, iNOS expression, mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation, and transcription factor activation. In the presence of IFN-γ, GDB strongly stimulated macrophages to express iNOS and produce NO. Furthermore, the activation of p38 was synergistically induced by GDB plus IFN-γ , but SB203580 (a p38 inhibitor) inhibited GDB plus IFN-γ -induced p38 activation. This study indicates that GDB is an important activator of macrophages. Furthermore, due to the critical role that macrophage activation plays in innate immune response, the activation effects of GDB on macrophages suggest that GDB may be a useful immunopotentiating agent.