In vitro cytostatic and immunomodulatory properties of the medicinal mushroom Lentinula edodes

Biotechnology Laboratory, National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF), 1, Sof. Venizelou St., 14123 Lycovrissi, Athens, Greece.
Phytomedicine: international journal of phytotherapy and phytopharmacology (Impact Factor: 3.13). 07/2008; 15(6-7):512-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.phymed.2007.11.029
Source: PubMed


Lentinula edodes, known as "shiitake" is one of the widely used medicinal mushrooms in the Orient. Antitumour activity of extracts of this mushroom has been widely demonstrated in animals and humans. However, this activity was shown to be host mediated and not by direct cytotoxic activity to cancer cells. This study demonstrates cytotoxic and cell growth inhibitory (cytostatic) effect of aqueous extracts of the mushroom on MCF-7 human breast adenocarcinoma cell line using an MTT cytotoxicity assay. Such effect was demonstrated with fruit body and mycelial extracts, the difference being that there was no significant suppression on normal cells with the latter. Furthermore mycelial extracts did not induce any cytostatic effect in both cancer and normal cell lines based on a DNA synthesis assay. The significant suppression of the proliferation of cancer cells was reflected by the comparatively low IC(50) values and the simultaneous higher respective values on normal fibroblast cells. The immunostimulatory activity of both fruit body and mycelial extracts was tested by the lymphocyte transformation test (LTT), which is based on the capacity of active immunomodulators to augment the proliferative response of rat thymocytes to T mitogens in vitro. Both fruit body and mycelial preparations were able to enhance the proliferation of rat thymocytes directly and act as co-stimulators in the presence of the T-mitogen PHA. Interestingly both extracts, similarly to zymosan showed SI(comit)/SI(mit) ratios of about 2, indicating adjuvant properties. Overall L. edodes aqueous extracts have demonstrated direct inhibition of the proliferation of human breast cancer cells in vitro and immunostimulatory properties in terms of mitogenic and co-mitogenic activity in vitro.

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Available from: Antonios Philippoussis
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    • "In a study of rats inoculated with breast cancer cells, Vetvicka et al.45 observed a reduction in cell proliferation after oral supplementation of β-Glucan extracted from medicinal mushrooms. Likewise, a decrease in the proliferation of cancer cells has been reported in studies carried out by Israilides et al.46 with breast cancer cells (MCF-7) and by Sliva et al.47 using the MDA-MB-231 cell line. "
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    • "As far as the microorganism L. edodes is concerned, it is a basidomycetous mold known also as Shiitake; this fungus is a medicinally important edible mushroom (Israilides and Philippoussis, 2003; Philippoussis et al., 2007). Only the last years some research has been made using L. edodes as a potential biotechnological tool, with studies focused upon the production of anti-tumor and anti-bacterial agents (Hassegawa et al., 2005; Surenjav et al., 2006; Israilides et al., 2008) or enzymes (Cavallazzi et al., 2005). "
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