Distinct patterns of dendritic cell cytokine release stimulated by fungal beta-glucans and toll-like receptor agonists

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases and Immunology; Program in Molecular Medicine

Publication Date


Document Type



Animals; Cells, Cultured; Cytokines; Dendritic Cells; Down-Regulation; Humans; Membrane Proteins; Mice; Mice, Knockout; Nerve Tissue Proteins; Saccharomyces cerevisiae; Toll-Like Receptors; Up-Regulation; beta-Glucans


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


beta-Glucans derived from fungal cell walls have potential uses as immunomodulating agents and vaccine adjuvants. Yeast glucan particles (YGPs) are highly purified Saccharomyces cerevisiae cell walls composed of beta1,6-branched beta1,3-d-glucan and free of mannans. YGPs stimulated secretion of the proinflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha) in wild-type murine bone marrow-derived myeloid dendritic cells (BMDCs) but did not stimulate interleukin-12p70 (IL-12p70) production. A purified soluble beta1,6-branched beta1,3-d-glucan, scleroglucan, also stimulated TNF-alpha in BMDCs. These two beta-glucans failed to stimulate TNF-alpha in Dectin-1 (beta-glucan receptor) knockout BMDCs. Costimulation of wild-type BMDCs with beta-glucans and specific Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands resulted in greatly enhanced TNF-alpha production but decreased IL-12p70 production compared with TLR agonists alone. The upregulation of TNF-alpha and downregulation of IL-12p70 required Dectin-1, but not IL-10. Gamma interferon (IFN-gamma) priming did not overcome IL-12p70 reduction by beta-glucans. Similar patterns of cytokine regulation were observed in human monocyte-derived dendritic cells (DCs) costimulated with YGPs and the TLR4 ligand lipopolysaccharide. Finally, costimulation of BMDCs with YGPs and either the TLR9 ligand, CpG, or the TLR2/1 ligand, Pam(3)CSK(4), resulted in upregulated secretion of IL-1alpha and IL-10 and downregulated secretion of IL-1beta, IL-6, and IFN-gamma-inducible protein 10 but had no significant effects on IL-12p40, keratinocyte-derived chemokine, monocyte chemotactic protein 1, or macrophage inflammatory protein alpha, compared with the TLR ligand alone. Thus, beta-glucans have distinct effects on cytokine responses following DC stimulation with different TLR agonists. These patterns of response might contribute to the skewing of immune responses during mycotic infections and have implications for the design of immunomodulators and vaccines containing beta-glucans.

DOI of Published Version



Infect Immun. 2009 May;77(5):1774-81. Epub 2009 Mar 9. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Infection and immunity

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Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID