Lentinula edodes β-glucan enriched diet induces pro- and anti-inflammatory macrophages in rabbit
β-glucans exhibited in cell walls of several pathogens as bacteria or fungi are sensed by pathogen recognition receptors such as scavenger receptors present in antigen presenting cells, i.e., macrophages. β-glucans obtained from Shiitake mushrooms were chemically characterized. A β-glucan supplemented diet was assayed for 30 days in rabbits aiming to characterize the immune response elicited in blood-derived macrophages. M1 and M2 profiles of macrophage differentiation were confirmed in rabbits by in vitro stimulation with IFN-γ and IL-4 and marker quantification of each differentiation pathway. Blood derived macrophages from rabbits administered in vivo with the β-glucan supplemented diet showed higher IL-4, IFN-γ and RAGE together with lower IL-10 relative expression, indicative of an ongoing immune response. Differences in IL-1β, IL-13 and IL-4 expression were also found in rabbit sera by ELISA suggesting further stimulation of the adaptive response. Recent challenges in the rabbit industry include the search of diet supplements able to elicit an immune stimulation with particular interest in facing pathogens such as viruses or bacteria. β–glucans from fungi may contribute to maintain an immune steady state favouring protection and thus reducing antibiotic treatment.