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Immunol Cell Biol. 1999 Oct;77(5):395-403.

The effect of molecular weight and beta-1,6-linkages on priming of macrophage function in mice by (1,3)-beta-D-glucan.

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Department of Veterinary Anatomy and Pathology, University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


1,3-beta-D-glucans (glucans) are structural elements in the cell walls of yeast and fungi with immunomodulatory properties, mediated through their ability to activate macrophages. This study assessed the activation of cells of the peritoneal cavity between 3 and 90 days after i.p. injection of particulate yeast glucan differing in molecular weight (MW) and degree of (1,6)-linkages. Female QS mice, 7-9 weeks of age, were injected, i.p., with varying doses of low (< 5 x 10(5)), medium (1-2 x 10(6)) or high (> 3 x 10(6)) MW glucans, all with low (< 5%) beta-(1,6)-linkages, or high MW (> 3 x 10(6)) glucan with high 1,6-linkages (> 20%). All glucans induced a transient increase in the proportion of neutrophils and eosinophils and a reduction in mast cell numbers in the peritoneal cavity. Peritoneal macrophages showed an altered morphology, increased intracellular acid phosphatase, increased LPS-stimulated NO production and increased PMA-stimulated superoxide production. There were no significant changes in serum lysozyme levels. Most macrophage activities returned to control levels by 28 days post injection of 1, 3-beta-D-glucan. There was a trend for higher MW or (1,6)-linked, (1, 3)-beta-D-glucans to be more stimulatory. It was concluded that particulate yeast (1,3)-beta-D-glucan is an effective stimulator of immune function, the efficiency of which may be influenced by the MW and degree of (1,6)-linkages.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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