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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2001 Jul;31(1):1-14.

Association of immunological disorders in lethal side effect of NSAIDs on beta-glucan-administered mice.

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  • 1Laboratory for Immunopharmacology of Microbial Products, School of Pharmacy, Tokyo University of Pharmacy and Life Science, 1432-1 Horinouchi, Hachioji, 192-0392, Tokyo, Japan.


(1-->3)-beta-D-Glucan (beta-glucan) is a biological response modifier that regulates host immune response. We have found that the combination of a beta-glucan and a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID), indomethacin (IND), induced lethal toxicity in mice [Yoshioka et al. (1998) FEMS Immunol. Med. Microbiol., 21, 171-179]. This study was undertaken to analyze the mechanism of the lethal side effect. Combination of a beta-glucan and IND increased the number of leukocytes, especially macrophages and neutrophils, in various organs and these cells were activated. The activated state of these cells was supported by the enhanced production of interferon-gamma in the presence of IND in vitro culture of the peritoneal exudate cells. Intestinal bacterial flora was translocated into the peritoneal cavity in these mice to cause peritonitis. Comparing the toxicity of various NSAIDs, nabumetone, a partially cyclooxygenase-2-selective NSAID with weaker toxicity to the gastrointestinal tract, did not exhibit a lethal side effect. These facts strongly suggested that gastrointestinal damage by NSAIDs was more severe in beta-glucan-administered mice, resulting in peritonitis by enteric bacteria and leading to death.

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