Increased resistance to Staphylococcus aureus infection and enhancement in serum lysozyme activity by glucan

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Science  24 Mar 1978:
Vol. 199, Issue 4335, pp. 1340-1342
DOI: 10.1126/science.628841


Glucan is a potent reticuloendothelial stimulant whose immunobiological activity is mediated, in part, by an increase in the number and function of macrophages. In studying the role of glucan as a mediator of antibacterial activity, we attempted to ascertain the ability of glucan to modify the mortality of mice with experimentally induced Gram-positive bacteremia, and to enhance antibacterial defenses in rats as denoted by serum lysozyme and phagocytic activity. After intravenous administration of glucan, serum lysozyme concentrations were increased approximately sevenfold over control concentrations. The increase in serum lysozyme appeared to parallel the glucan-induced increase in phagocytosis and induced hyperplasia of macrophages. Prior treatment of mice with glucan significantly enhanced their survival when they were challenged systemically with Staphylococcus aureus. These studies indicate that glucan confers an enhanced state of host defense against bacterial infections.