It is well established that glucans enhance the efficacy of anti-cancer and anti-infection immunotheraphy, both in clinical and
experimental conditions. However, the considerable variations among batches of natural glucan in molecular weight, branching
frequency, as well as linkage to chitins and mannoproteins, make the clinical applications of natural glucan questionable. The future
might be in the use of small synthetic oligosaccharides prepared on the basis of natural glucans. Some of these non natural
oligosaccharides showed biological activities such as stimulation of phagocytosis, modulation of gene expression and anti-cancer
activity, which were superior to natural glucans. The recent studies strongly suggest the possibility of small chemical changes in the
structure of these oligoglucans oriented towards their improved biological activities. This review highlights recent achievements in the
immunological effects of synthetic, glucan-based oligosaccharides.
Keywords: Cancer, cytokines, defence, gene, glucan, IL-2, immunity, oligosaccharides, natural immunomodulators, phagocytosis,
polysaccharide, synthesis, synthetic, sulphur, thioglucans.
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