β-Glucans have been shown to enhance immune responses for centuries, which contributes to their anti-tumor property. However, their mechanisms of action are still elusive. Dectin-1, the C-type lectin receptor for β-glucan, is expressed abundantly on dendritic cells (DCs). Activation of DCs via Dectin-1 can lead to the maturation of DC, inducing both innate and adaptive immune responses against tumor development and microbial infection. In this study, we found that particulate yeast-derived β-glucans could induce the maturation of murine dendritic cell line D2SC/1 cells and increase the expression of mGITRL on D2SC/1 cells via Dectin-1/Syk pathway in a dose dependent manner. Furthermore, we demonstrated that the increased mGITRL on D2SC/1 cells could impair the suppressive activity of CD4(+)CD25(+) regulatory T cells (Tregs) and enhance the proliferation of CD4(+)CD25(-) effector T cells (Teffs). These findings suggest that particulate β-glucan can be used as immunomodulator to stimulate potent T cell-mediated adaptive immunity while down-regulate immune suppressive activity, leading to a more efficient defense mechanism against tumor development or infectious diseases.
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