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Immunol Lett. 2004 Apr 30;93(1):71-8.

Microparticulate beta-glucan upregulates the expression of B7.1, B7.2, B7-H1, but not B7-DC on cultured murine peritoneal macrophages.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89557, USA.


Beta-1,3-(D)-glucan from a variety of biological sources has been shown to enhance both humoral and cellular immune responses to a variety of antigens, infectious agents, and tumors. Nevertheless, its mode of action has not been fully defined. We sought to determine whether a 1-2 microm diameter microparticulate form of beta-glucan (MG) from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae could regulate expression of B7 family glycoproteins on resident peritoneal macrophages from BALB/c mice. We discovered that MG uregulated B7.2 mRNA expression and enhanced the surface membrane expression of B7.2 glycoprotein. Although B7.1 mRNA was not upregulated above constitutive levels, MG treatment enhanced B7.1 glycoprotein expression on the macrophages, albeit to a lesser extent than B7.2. At the same time, the gene and cell surface expression of B7-H1, a putative negative regulator of T cell activity, was also upregulated by MG. The expression of B7-DC, another B7 family molecule with negative regulatory activity, was not affected by incubation with MG. This study has demonstrated that a microparticulate form of beta-glucan can enhance B7 co-stimulatory molecule expression on macrophages, thereby enabling these antigen-presenting cells to deliver the second signal to T-lymphocytes that express CD28. In addition, because MG also induces the expression of B7-H1, it may enable macrophages to provide a concomitant downregulatory signal to T-lymphocytes expressing PD-1 or related receptors.

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