File Name: beta-glucans in higher fungi and their health effects file.zip
Geetha Kutty, A. Sally Davis, Gabriela A. In immunosuppressed hosts with a high organism burden, organism death and release of glucans appears to be an important contributor to deleterious host inflammatory responses. Pneumocystis jirovecii is a pathogen that causes life-threatening pneumonia Pneumocystis pneumonia [PCP] in patients with AIDS and other immunocompromised patients [ 1 , 2 ]. Members of the genus Pneumocystis can uniquely infect different mammalian hosts, with Pneumocystis jirovecii infecting humans, Pneumocystis carinii infecting rats, and Pneumocystis murina infecting mice [ 3—5 ].
Glucans have been studied extensively as an immune-stimulant in anti-infective, anti-tumor, immunoadjuvant in cancer therapy, wound healing, and for stress and the lowering of cholesterol 1 , 2. Readers seeking more information on glucan-related health benefits should read 3. Oral administration of glucan offers significant advantages such as easy administration, ease of mass distribution, and a relatively low cost. More importantly, orally administered glucans, both mushroom-derived 6 , 7 and barley-derived 8 , 9 have demonstrated their therapeutic efficacy. Despite a long history of research, the exact mechanisms of glucan actions remain elusive. Numerous studies have indicated that yeast-derived glucans prime neutrophils and natural killer cells for action against iC3b-opsonized tumors as a result of complement activation by anti-tumor monoclonal or natural antibodies 10 , With recent studies showing stimulation of humoral immunity including antibody response 12 , it is clear that glucan-mediated immunotherapy may link both innate and adaptive immune responses.
Perturbation of parts of this network in the pathogen C. Targeting the widely conserved gene network required for creating and maintaining this barrier may lead to novel broad-spectrum antimycotics. Opportunistic fungal pathogens such as Candida albicans often cause fatal infections in patients with a compromised immune system. Unfortunately, current drugs often fail to halt fungal disease, are ineffective against drug-resistant strains, and have severe side effects. Despite the clear clinical significance of fungal infections, it is still not understood how fungi are recognized by the immune system. Mutation of genes in this network in C. The authors also found that sublethal doses of the antifungal drug caspofungin cause unmasking and lead to a greater immune response.
Together with chitin, the b-glucans are components of mycetes' cell walls. A highlevel of biological eciency has been found inb-glucans, especiallyb-1,3-D-glucansand b-1,6-D-glucans isolated from some basidiomycetes. Biological eciencyrefers to the relative ability of b-glucans to promote a desired response, for exampleto induce leukocyte activation and to produce inammatory mediators. Thesepolysaccharides increase the number of Th1 lymphocytes, which help protectorganisms against allergic reactions. A number of b-glucans, for example pleuranfrom Oyster Pleurotus spp.
In addition to having an immunity-stimulating effect, b-glucans may participate in physiological processes related to the metabolism of fats in the human body. Their.
Study of this molecule has been motivated by its importance as a pathogen-associated molecular pattern upon fungal infection as well as by its promising clinical utility as biological response modifier for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases. Its immune effect is attributed to the ability to bind to different receptors expressed on the cell surface of phagocytic and cytotoxic innate immune cells, including monocytes, macrophages, neutrophils, and natural killer cells. The characteristics of the immune responses generated depend on the cell types and receptors involved. For centuries, traditional Chinese medicine uses fungi for healing and currently, interests have focused on polysaccharides that are a crucial component of fungi cell walls 1. However, they can strongly differ by their length and branching structure. The structural diversity also depends on the fungal source 4.
This entry provides a comprehensive review of the current literature about biological properties and available methods for the detection of beta-glucans.
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