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Blood. 2011 Jun 23;117(25):6825-36. doi: 10.1182/blood-2011-02-339812. Epub 2011 Apr 29.

Differential pathways regulating innate and adaptive antitumor immune responses by particulate and soluble yeast-derived β-glucans.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, James Graham Brown Cancer Center, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY, USA.


β-glucans have been reported to function as a potent adjuvant to stimulate innate and adaptive immune responses. However, β-glucans from different sources are differential in their structure, conformation, and thus biologic activity. Different preparations of β-glucans, soluble versus particulate, further complicate their mechanism of action. Here we show that yeast-derived particulate β-glucan activated dendritic cells (DCs) and macrophages via a C-type lectin receptor dectin-1 pathway. Activated DCs by particulate β-glucan promoted Th1 and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte priming and differentiation in vitro. Treatment of orally administered yeast-derived particulate β-glucan elicited potent antitumor immune responses and drastically down-regulated immunosuppressive cells, leading to the delayed tumor progression. Deficiency of the dectin-1 receptor completely abrogated particulate β-glucan-mediated antitumor effects. In contrast, yeast-derived soluble β-glucan bound to DCs and macrophages independent of the dectin-1 receptor and did not activate DCs. Soluble β-glucan alone had no therapeutic effect but significantly augmented antitumor monoclonal antibody-mediated therapeutic efficacy via a complement activation pathway but independent of dectin-1 receptor. These findings reveal the importance of different preparations of β-glucans in the adjuvant therapy and allow for the rational design of immunotherapeutic protocols usable in clinical trials.

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