|Sugars in the form of monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, polysaccharides and glycoconjugates (glycoproteins, glycolipids) are vital components of infecting microbes and host cells, and are involved in cell signalling associated with modulation of inflammation in all integumental structures.
Indeed, sugars are the molecules most commonly involved in cell recognition and communication. In skin, they are essential to epidermal development and homeostasis.
They play important roles in microbial adherence, colonization and biofilm formation, and in virulence.
Two groups of pathogen recognition receptors, C-type lectins (CTL) and their receptors (CTLR), and the Toll-like receptors enable the host to recognize pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), which are mainly glycolipids.
The CTLs can recognize a wide variety of bacteria, fungi and parasites and are important in phagocytosis and endocytosis.
TLRs are expressed on the surfaces of a variety of cells, including keratinocytes, dendritic cells, monocytes and macrophages; they play a major role in innate immunity.
Interaction of TLRs with PAMPs initiates a cascade of events leading to production of reactive oxygen intermediates, cytokines and chemokines, and promotes inflammation.
Exogenous sugars can block carbohydrate receptors and competitively displace bacteria from attachment to cells, including keratinocytes. Thus sugars may provide valuable adjunctive anti-inflammatory and/or antimicrobial treatment.
A promising approach is the use of a panel of carbohydrate derivatives with anti-adhesive efficacy against bacteria frequently involved in diseases affecting skin and other epithelia.
More complete characterization of sugar receptors and their ligands will provide further keys to use of carbohydrates in immunomodulation and infection control in skin.
Source: David H. Lloyd, Jacqueline Viac, Dirk Werling, Christophe A. RÃ¨me, Hugues Gatto (2007):
Role of sugars in surface microbe-host interactions and immune reaction modulation. In:
Veterinary Dermatology 18 (4), 197Â–204.
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