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Immunol Lett. 2006 Jun 15;105(2):101-14. Epub 2006 Mar 3.

Polysaccharide biological response modifiers.

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Institute of Chinese Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong, People's Republic of China.


Biological response modifiers (BRMs) are substances which augment immune response. BRMs can be cytokines which are produced endogenously in our body by immune cells or derivatives of bacteria, fungi, brown algae, Aloe vera and photosynthetic plants. Such exogeneous derivatives (exogeneous BRMs) can be nucleic acid (CpG), lipid (lipotechoic acid), protein or polysaccharide in nature. The receptors for these exogeneous BRMs are pattern recognition receptors. The binding of exogeneous BRMs to pattern recognition receptors triggers immune response. Exogenous BRMs have been reported to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and anti-tumor activities. Among different exogeneous BRMs, polysaccharide BRMs have the widest occurrence in nature. Some polysaccharide BRMs have been tested for their therapeutic properties in human clinical trials. An overview of current understandings of polysaccharide BRMs is summarized in this review.

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