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Biological Effects of β-Glucan

A special issue of Molecules (ISSN 1420-3049). This special issue belongs to the section "Natural Products Chemistry".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 May 2021) | Viewed by 22427

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Pathology, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY 40292, USA
Interests: glucan; natural immunomodulators; cancer
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Natural products, useful in preventing or even treating diseases, have been sought throughout the history of mankind. One of the most promising molecules fulfilling these aims is β-glucan. The better use of β-glucan is slowed by the same problem, which is common to other natural products: in nature, they represent a complex mixture of individual ingredients. Therefore, the evaluation of glucan properties has to focus not only on the biochemical characteristics and biological activities, but also on adequate isolation techniques which can offer us highly purified molecules. This Special Issue represents a comprehensive review of several topics important for the understanding of β-glucan’s biological and biochemical activities.

Prof. Dr. Vaclav Vetvicka
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • Glucan
  • Cancer
  • Immunity
  • Defense
  • Biological

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 3782 KiB  
Article
Anthelmintic Activity of Yeast Particle-Encapsulated Terpenes
by Zeynep Mirza, Ernesto R. Soto, Yan Hu, Thanh-Thanh Nguyen, David Koch, Raffi V. Aroian and Gary R. Ostroff
Molecules 2020, 25(13), 2958; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25132958 - 27 Jun 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3639
Abstract
Soil-transmitted nematodes (STN) infect 1–2 billion of the poorest people worldwide. Only benzimidazoles are currently used in mass drug administration, with many instances of reduced activity. Terpenes are a class of compounds with anthelmintic activity. Thymol, a natural monoterpene phenol, was used to [...] Read more.
Soil-transmitted nematodes (STN) infect 1–2 billion of the poorest people worldwide. Only benzimidazoles are currently used in mass drug administration, with many instances of reduced activity. Terpenes are a class of compounds with anthelmintic activity. Thymol, a natural monoterpene phenol, was used to help eradicate hookworms in the U.S. South circa 1910. However, the use of terpenes as anthelmintics was discontinued because of adverse side effects associated with high doses and premature stomach absorption. Furthermore, the dose–response activity of specific terpenes against STNs has been understudied. Here we used hollow, porous yeast particles (YPs) to efficiently encapsulate (>95%) high levels of terpenes (52% w/w) and evaluated their anthelmintic activity on hookworms (Ancylostoma ceylanicum), a rodent parasite (Nippostrongylus brasiliensis), and whipworm (Trichuris muris). We identified YP–terpenes that were effective against all three parasites. Further, YP–terpenes overcame albendazole-resistant Caenorhabditis elegans. These results demonstrate that terpenes are broad-acting anthelmintics. Terpenes are predicted to be extremely difficult for parasites to resist, and YP encapsulation provides water-suspendable terpene materials without surfactants and sustained terpene release that could lead to the development of formulations for oral delivery that overcome fast absorption in the stomach, thus reducing dosage and toxic side effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Effects of β-Glucan)
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Review

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12 pages, 2441 KiB  
Review
Review: β-glucans as Effective Antibiotic Alternatives in Poultry
by Betty Schwartz and Vaclav Vetvicka
Molecules 2021, 26(12), 3560; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26123560 - 10 Jun 2021
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4798
Abstract
The occurrence of microbial challenges in commercial poultry farming causes significant economic losses. Antibiotics have been used to control diseases involving bacterial infection in poultry. As the incidence of antibiotic resistance turns out to be a serious problem, there is increased pressure on [...] Read more.
The occurrence of microbial challenges in commercial poultry farming causes significant economic losses. Antibiotics have been used to control diseases involving bacterial infection in poultry. As the incidence of antibiotic resistance turns out to be a serious problem, there is increased pressure on producers to reduce antibiotic use. With the reduced availability of antibiotics, poultry producers are looking for feed additives to stimulate the immune system of the chicken to resist microbial infection. Some β-glucans have been shown to improve gut health, to increase the flow of new immunocytes, increase macrophage function, stimulate phagocytosis, affect intestinal morphology, enhance goblet cell number and mucin-2 production, induce the increased expression of intestinal tight-junctions, and function as effective anti-inflammatory immunomodulators in poultry. As a result, β-glucans may provide a new tool for producers trying to reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics in fowl diets. The specific activity of each β-glucan subtype still needs to be investigated. Upon knowledge, optimal β-glucan mixtures may be implemented in order to obtain optimal growth performance, exert anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activity, and optimized intestinal morphology and histology responses in poultry. This review provides an extensive overview of the current use of β glucans as additives and putative use as antibiotic alternative in poultry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Effects of β-Glucan)
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14 pages, 957 KiB  
Review
Biological Effects of β-Glucans on Osteoclastogenesis
by Wataru Ariyoshi, Shiika Hara, Ayaka Koga, Yoshie Nagai-Yoshioka and Ryota Yamasaki
Molecules 2021, 26(7), 1982; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules26071982 - 1 Apr 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3065
Abstract
Although the anti-tumor and anti-infective properties of β-glucans have been well-discussed, their role in bone metabolism has not been reviewed so far. This review discusses the biological effects of β-glucans on bone metabolisms, especially on bone-resorbing osteoclasts, which are differentiated from hematopoietic precursors. [...] Read more.
Although the anti-tumor and anti-infective properties of β-glucans have been well-discussed, their role in bone metabolism has not been reviewed so far. This review discusses the biological effects of β-glucans on bone metabolisms, especially on bone-resorbing osteoclasts, which are differentiated from hematopoietic precursors. Multiple immunoreceptors that can recognize β-glucans were reported to be expressed in osteoclast precursors. Coordinated co-stimulatory signals mediated by these immunoreceptors are important for the regulation of osteoclastogenesis and bone remodeling. Curdlan from the bacterium Alcaligenes faecalis negatively regulates osteoclast differentiation in vitro by affecting both the osteoclast precursors and osteoclast-supporting cells. We also showed that laminarin, lichenan, and glucan from baker’s yeast, as well as β-1,3-glucan from Euglema gracilisas, inhibit the osteoclast formation in bone marrow cells. Consistent with these findings, systemic and local administration of β-glucan derived from Aureobasidium pullulans and Saccharomyces cerevisiae suppressed bone resorption in vivo. However, zymosan derived from S. cerevisiae stimulated the bone resorption activity and is widely used to induce arthritis in animal models. Additional research concerning the relationship between the molecular structure of β-glucan and its effect on osteoclastic bone resorption will be beneficial for the development of novel treatment strategies for bone-related diseases. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Effects of β-Glucan)
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33 pages, 1202 KiB  
Review
Development of Fish Immunity and the Role of β-Glucan in Immune Responses
by Marianna V. Rodrigues, Fábio S. Zanuzzo, João Fernando A. Koch, Carlos Alberto F. de Oliveira, Petr Sima and Vaclav Vetvicka
Molecules 2020, 25(22), 5378; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25225378 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 60 | Viewed by 5954
Abstract
Administration of β-glucans through various routes, including immersion, dietary inclusion, or injection, have been found to stimulate various facets of immune responses, such as resistance to infections and resistance to environmental stress. β-Glucans used as an immunomodulatory food supplement have been found beneficial [...] Read more.
Administration of β-glucans through various routes, including immersion, dietary inclusion, or injection, have been found to stimulate various facets of immune responses, such as resistance to infections and resistance to environmental stress. β-Glucans used as an immunomodulatory food supplement have been found beneficial in eliciting immunity in commercial aquaculture. Despite extensive research involving more than 3000 published studies, knowledge of the receptors involved in recognition of β-glucans, their downstream signaling, and overall mechanisms of action is still lacking. The aim of this review is to summarize and discuss what is currently known about of the use of β-glucans in fish. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Effects of β-Glucan)
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18 pages, 7706 KiB  
Review
Hypolipidemic Effects of β-Glucans, Mannans, and Fucoidans: Mechanism of Action and Their Prospects for Clinical Application
by Tatiana A. Korolenko, Nataliya P. Bgatova, Marina V. Ovsyukova, Alexandra Shintyapina and Vaclav Vetvicka
Molecules 2020, 25(8), 1819; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25081819 - 16 Apr 2020
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 4296
Abstract
The search for lipid-lowering drugs is important for clinical medicine. This review summarizes our research findings regarding the hypolipidemic activity of polysaccharides. There are several validated agents altering lipid levels which reduce the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular events. Nonetheless, for many people, the [...] Read more.
The search for lipid-lowering drugs is important for clinical medicine. This review summarizes our research findings regarding the hypolipidemic activity of polysaccharides. There are several validated agents altering lipid levels which reduce the risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular events. Nonetheless, for many people, the risk of such an event remains unacceptably high despite treatment with these agents. This situation has prompted the search for new therapies to reduce the residual cardiovascular risk. The lipid-lowering effect of β-glucans consumed with food was demonstrated in patients with atherosclerosis. The mechanism of the protective effect of β-glucans is poorly studied. The effects of β-glucans are mediated by Toll-like receptors, by dectin-1, and possibly by other receptors. Nevertheless, the mechanism of the protective action of β-glucan in lipemic mice has been studied insufficiently. This review will present up-to-date information regarding experimental hypolipidemic polysaccharide compounds that hold promise for medicine. Phagocyte-specific chitotriosidase in humans contributes to innate immune responses against chitin-containing fungi. This enzyme has been first described in patients with Gaucher disease and serves as an important diagnostic biomarker. It has been reported that, in mice, chitin particles of certain size are recognized by macrophages through Toll-like receptors, dectin-1, and to a lesser extent through mannose receptor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Effects of β-Glucan)
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