Istituto di Biofisica     
Barsanti L., Passerelli V., Evangelista V., Frassanito A. M., Gualtieri P. Chemistry, physico-chemistry and applications linked to biological activities of b-glucans. In: Natural Product Reports, vol. 28 pp. 457 - 466. The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2011.
b-Glucans is the common name given to a group of chemically heterogeneous polysaccharides. They are long- or short-chain polymers of (1/3)-b-linked glucose moieties which may be branched, with the branching chains linked to the backbone by a (1/6)-b linkage. b-(1,3)-Glucans are widely distributed in bacteria, algae, fungi and plants, where they are involved in cell wall structure and other biological function. b-Glucans have been shown to provide a remarkable range of health benefits, and are especially important against the two most common conventional causes of death in industrialized countries, i.e. cardiovascular diseases (where they promote healthy cholesterol and blood glucose levels) and cancer (where they enhance immune system functions). This Highlight provides a comprehensive and up-to-date commentary on b-glucans, their chemistry, physico-chemistry, functional role in immunological responses, and possible applications as therapeutic tools. In addition, we discuss the mechanism behind their health benefits, which are not yet fully understood.
DOI: 10.1039/c0np00018c
Subject b-glucans

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