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Nutrients 2017, 9(7), 779; doi:10.3390/nu9070779

Respiratory Tract Infections and the Role of Biologically Active Polysaccharides in Their Management and Prevention

1
Department of Pediatrics, Comenius University in Bratislava, Jessenius Faculty of Medicine in Martin, University Teaching Hospital, Kollarova 2, 036 59 Martin, Slovakia
2
Department of Pediatrics, P.J. Safarik University, Faculty of Medicine, Children’s Faculty Hospital, Trieda SNP 1, 040 11 Kosice, Slovakia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 5 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 20 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrients, Infectious and Inflammatory Diseases)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [241 KB, uploaded 21 July 2017]

Abstract

Respiratory tract infections (RTIs) are the most common form of infections in every age category. Recurrent respiratory tract infections (RRTIs), a specific form of RTIs, represent a typical and common problem associated with early childhood, causing high indirect and direct costs on the healthcare system. They are usually the consequence of immature immunity in children and high exposure to various respiratory pathogens. Their rational management should aim at excluding other severe chronic diseases associated with increased morbidity (e.g., primary immunodeficiency syndromes, cystic fibrosis, and ciliary dyskinesia) and at supporting maturity of the mucosal immune system. However, RRTIs can also be observed in adults (e.g., during exhausting and stressful periods, chronic inflammatory diseases, secondary immunodeficiencies, or in elite athletes) and require greater attention. Biologically active polysaccharides (e.g., β-glucans) are one of the most studied natural immunomodulators with a pluripotent mode of action and biological activity. According to many studies, they possess immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, and anti-infectious activities and therefore could be suggested as an effective part of treating and preventing RTIs. Based on published studies, the application of β-glucans was proven as a possible therapeutic and preventive approach in managing and preventing recurrent respiratory tract infections in children (especially β-glucans from Pleurotus ostreatus), adults (mostly the studies with yeast-derived β-glucans), and in elite athletes (studies with β-glucans from Pleurotus ostreatus or yeast). View Full-Text
Keywords: β-glucans; biologically active polysaccharides; immunomodulation; recurrent respiratory tract infections; prevention β-glucans; biologically active polysaccharides; immunomodulation; recurrent respiratory tract infections; prevention
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Jesenak, M.; Urbancikova, I.; Banovcin, P. Respiratory Tract Infections and the Role of Biologically Active Polysaccharides in Their Management and Prevention. Nutrients 2017, 9, 779.

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