The innate immune system responds in a rapid and non-specific manner against immunologic threats; inflammation is part of this response. This is followed by a slower but targeted and specific response termed the adaptive or acquired immune response. There is emerging evidence that dietary components, including yeast-derived β-glucans, can aid host defense against pathogens by modulating inflammatory and antimicrobial activity of neutrophils and macrophages. Innate immune training refers to a newly recognized phenomenon wherein compounds may "train" innate immune cells, such that monocyte and macrophage precursor biology is altered to mount a more effective immunological response. Although various human studies have been carried out, much uncertainty still exists and further studies are required to fully elucidate the relationship between β-glucan supplementation and human immune function. This review offers an up-to-date report on yeast-derived β-glucans as immunomodulators, including a brief overview of the current paradigm regarding the interaction of β-glucans with the immune system. The recent pre-clinical work that has partly decrypted mode of action and the newest evidence from human trials are also reviewed. According to pre-clinical studies, β-1,3/1,6-glucan derived from baker's yeast may offer increased immuno-surveillance, although the human evidence is weaker than that gained from pre-clinical studies.
Keywords: diet and inflammation; innate immunity; metabolic-inflammation; trained immunity; yeast β-glucan.
© 2020 The Authors. Molecular Nutrition & Food Research published by Wiley-VCH GmbH.