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Mediators Inflamm. 2002 Jun;11(3):149-53.

Effects after inhalation of (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan and relation to mould exposure in the home.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Medicine, Göteborg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.



Damp conditions indoors favour the growth of microorganisms, and these contain several agents that may cause inflammation when inhaled. Moulds contain a polyglucose in their cell wall, defined as (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan, exhibiting effects on inflammatory cells.


The aim of the present study was to evaluate whether an inhalation challenge to purified (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan (grifolan) in humans could induce effects on inflammatory markers in blood, and to evaluate whether the reactions were related to the home exposure to (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan.


Seventeen subjects in homes with high levels of airborne (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan (G-high) and 18 subjects in homes with low levels of (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan (G-low) underwent two randomised, double-blind inhalation challenges, one to (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan suspended in saline and one to saline alone. A blood sample was taken before and after the challenges, and differential cell count, granulocyte enzymes in serum and the secretion of cytokines from peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) were measured.


Inhalation challenge with (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan induced a decrease in the secretion of tumour necrosis factor alpha from endotoxin-stimulated PBMC in the G-high group as well as in the G-low group. In the G-high group, the inhalation of (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan induced an increase in blood lymphocytes that was significantly different from the saline-induced effect.


The results suggest that an inhalation challenge to (1-->3)-beta-D-glucan has an effect on inflammatory cells and this effect may be related to a chronic exposure to moulds at home.

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