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Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 12, Issue 3, Pages 139-146

Slight respiratory irritation but not inflammation in mice exposed to (1→3)-β-D-glucan aerosols

1Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Kuopio, P.O. Box 1627, Kuopio 70211, Finland
2Department of Pathology and Forensic Medicine, University of Kuopio and Kuopio University Hospital, Kuopio, Finland
3Department of Pathology, Tampere University Hospital and University of Tampere, Tampere, Finland
4Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden

Copyright © 2003 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Airway irritation effects after single and repeated inhalation exposures to aerosols of β-glucan (grifolan) were investigated in mice. In addition, the effects on serum total immunoglobulin E (IgE) production and histopathological inflammation in the respiratory tract were studied. The β-glucan aerosols provoked slight sensory irritation in the airways, but the response was not concentration dependent at the levels studied. Slight pulmonary irritation was observed after repeated exposures. No effect was found on the serum total IgE levels, and no signs of inflammation were seen in the airways 6 h after the final exposure. The results suggest that, irrespective of previous fungal sensitization of the animals, inhaled β-glucan may cause symptoms of respiratory tract irritation but without apparent inflammation. Respiratory tract irritation reported after inhalation of fungi may not be entirely attributed to β-glucan.