Enhancement of radioprotection and anti-tumor immunity by yeast-derived beta-glucan in mice

J Med Food. 2005 Summer;8(2):154-8. doi: 10.1089/jmf.2005.8.154.


Intraperitoneal injection of beta-glucan was shown to greatly delay mortality in mice exposed to whole-body X-ray radiation and tumor growth in tumor-bearing mice. Since the leukocyte and lymphocyte numbers were increased by a single dose of beta-glucan, the radioprotective effect of beta-glucan is probably mediated, at least in part, by a hemopoietic action in irradiated mice. In addition, both natural killer (NK) and lymphokine-activated killer (LAK) activities were significantly increased by repeated doses of beta-glucan. Augmented immunological activity as seen in increased NK and LAK activity by beta-glucan seems to play a role in preventing secondary infections associated with irradiation, and probably contributes to the attenuated tumor growth in tumor-bearing mice through enhanced anti-tumor immunity. These results suggest that beta-glucan may be a promising adjunct treatment for cancer patients receiving radiotherapy.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma / drug therapy*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Injections, Intraperitoneal
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated / drug effects*
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Lymphokine-Activated / metabolism
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects*
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Radiotherapy / adverse effects
  • Random Allocation
  • Treatment Outcome
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • beta-Glucans