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FEMS Immunol Med Microbiol. 2003 Jan 21;35(1):67-75.

Beta-glucan, extracted from oat, enhances disease resistance against bacterial and parasitic infections.

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Animal Biotechnology Centre, Department of Animal and Poultry Science, 51 Campus Drive, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 5A8.


The effect of beta-glucan, extracted from oats, on the enhancement of resistance to infections caused by Staphylococcus aureus and Eimeria vermiformis was studied in mice. In vitro study using macrophages isolated from the peritoneal cavity showed that beta-glucan treatment significantly enhanced phagocytic activity. In vivo study further demonstrated that beta-glucan treatment induced a significant (P<0.05) protection against the challenge with 5 x 10(8) of S. aureus in mice. Fecal oocyst shedding in the C57BL/6 mice infected with E. vermiformis was diminished by beta-glucan treatment by 39.6% in intraperitoneal and 28.5% in intragastric group compared to non-treated control. Patency period was shorter and antigen (sporozoites and merozoites) specific antibodies were significantly (P<0.05-0.01) higher in beta-glucan-treated group compared to non-treated control group. There were an increasing number of splenic IFN-gamma-secreting cells in glucan-treated group via intraperitoneal route, which might be responsible for the enhancement of the disease resistance. Glucan treatment was able to effectively change the lymphocytes population (Thy 1.2(+), CD4(+) and CD8(+) cells) in the mesenteric lymph nodes and Peyer's patches in mice infected with E. vermiformis. In conclusion, the oral or parenteral oat beta-glucan treatment enhanced the resistance to S. aureus or E. vermiformis infection in the mice.

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