ß-glucan is a (1,3)(1,6)-beta-linked polymer of glucose normally found as a structural component of the fungal cell wall. Since beta-glucan is not expressed in mammalian cells, it is an example of a pathogen-associated molecular pattern (PAMP) that permits leukocytes to recognize microbes as foreign. Although PAMPs are now understood to be a significant aspect of nonself recognition, mechanisms that regulate the subsequent host response to these molecules are not well understood. When purified and injected in soluble form, ß-glucan has been shown to prime the innate immune system without cytokine production. Experimental animals receiving ß-glucan showed improved outcomes when challenged with pathogens or tumors.
Dr. Reichner is a Professor in the Department of Surgery at the Brown University Medical School, Providence, RI. He received his BS from the Ohio State University in 1976 and worked as a clinical microbiologist until entering graduate school. He received his Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 1983. He completed postdoctoral work at MD Anderson Hospital & Tumor Institute of the University of Texas Cancer Center and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
JONATHAN REICHNER, PHD
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