Physiological effects of different types of beta-glucan

Biomed Pap Med Fac Univ Palacky Olomouc Czech Repub. 2007 Dec;151(2):225-31. doi: 10.5507/bp.2007.038.


Background: Numerous types of glucans have been isolated from almost every species of yeast, grain, and fungi. These products have been extensively studied for their immunological and pharmacological effects.

Aim: In this paper we evaluated the possibility whether individual glucans will be similarly active against each of the tested biological properties or if each glucan will affect different reactions.

Methods: Immunological effects of glucans were measured by evaluation of phagocytosis of HEMA particles by peripheral blood leukocytes and production of IL-2 by mouse splenocytes. Next we measured the effects of long-term treatment with glucan on levels of blood glucose and blood cholesterol. Four different glucans differing in origin (yeast, grain and mushroom) were used.

Results: Our results showed that the same glucan, yeast-derived insoluble #300 glucan, stimulated phagocytosis of peripheral blood leukocytes, production of IL-2 by mouse splenocytes, lowered the cholesterol levels in mice with experimentally-induced cholesterolemia and lowered the level of blood sugar after induced hyperglycaemie. The remainder of tested glucans were only marginally active.

Conclusion: Taken together, our study showed that with respect to natural glucans, there is a yes-or-no effect suggesting that highly purified and highly active glucans will have pleiotropic impact, whereas poorly isolated and/or less active glucans will have only mediocre biological properties.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Female
  • Interleukin-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects*
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Interleukin-2
  • beta-Glucans
  • Cholesterol