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Fractionation and antitumor activity of the water-insoluble residue of Agaricus blazei fruiting bodies.

Kawagishi H, Inagaki R, Kanao T, Mizuno T, Shimura K, Ito H, Hagiwara T, Nakamura T.
Carbohydr Res 1989 Mar;186(2):267-73

Some polysaccharide-containing materials were successively extracted from the fruiting bodies of Agaricus blazei with aqueous ammonium oxalate and sodium hydroxide, fractionated, and assayed for antitumor activity. From chemical analyses and n.m.r. data, it was concluded that the most active fraction, FIII-2-b, was comprised of protein and a (1----6)-beta-D-glucan

Inhibitory action of a (1-->6)-beta-D-glucan-protein complex (F III-2-b) isolated from Agaricus blazei Murill ("himematsutake") on Meth A fibrosarcoma-bearing mice and its antitumor mechanism.

Itoh H, Ito H, Amano H, Noda H.
Jpn J Pharmacol 1994 Oct;66(2):265-71

The effects of F III-2-b (Agaricus blazei Murill polysaccharide) with or without 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) on immune responses were investigated in Meth A tumor-bearing and normal mice. The i.p. administration of F III-2-b (10 mg/kg/day x 30) moderately inhibited the growth of Meth A tumor cells implanted s.c. in mice. Development of implanted tumors was strongly inhibited by the combination of F III-2-b and 5-FU. The picryl chloride-induced delayed type hypersensitivity (PC-DTH) response in mice was depressed after the implantation of tumor and treatment with 5-FU. F III-2-b restored the suppression of PC-DTH by 5-FU, but did not increase the PC-DTH of normal mice. F III-2-b not only enhanced the degree of spleen cell-mediated sheep red blood cells (SRBC) hemolysis (quantitative hemolysis of SRBC), the indexes of the spleen and thymus, and the number of spleen cells but also restored the suppressive effect of 5-FU. In the group receiving F III-2-b, the percentages of splenic Thy1.2-, L3T4- and asialo GM1-positive cells

Antitumor effects of a new polysaccharide-protein complex (ATOM) prepared from Agaricus blazei (Iwade strain 101) "Himematsutake" and its mechanisms in tumor-bearing mice.

Ito H, Shimura K, Itoh H, Kawade M.
Anticancer Res 1997 Jan;17(1A):277-84

The antitumor activity of the i.p. or p.o. administration of polysaccharide-protein complex, ATOM (antitumor organic substance Mie) prepared from cultured mycelia of Agaricus blazei (Iwade strain 101) "Himematsutake" examined against four kinds of established mouse tumors. ATOM was highly effective at the doses of 10 and 20 mg/kg/day x 10 on subcutaneously implanted Sarcoma 180 in mice, and was also active against Ehrlich ascites carcinoma, Shionogi carcinoma 42 and Meth A fibrosarcoma at doses of 50 and 100 mg/kg/day x 10. ATOM has no direct cytotoxic action on tumor cells in vitro. Thus the tumor growth-inhibitory effect of ATOM is apparently due to immunological host-mediated mechanisms. The number of peritoneal macrophages, the phagocytosis of polystyrene latex beads and the proportion of the third component of complement (C3)-positive fluorescent cells were increased in the mice treated with ATOM. These results suggest that the macrophage activa-tion and alterations of the C3 are necessary for the induction of an antitumor effect of ATOM

Polysaccharides from Agaricus blazei stimulate lymphocyte T-cell subsets in mice.

Mizuno M, Morimoto M, Minato K, Tsuchida H.
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 1998 Mar;62(3):434-7

Subset analysis of splenic lymphocytes using flow cytometry showed that the percentages of Thy1.2-(pan T-cells), L3T4-(CD4, helper T-cells), and Lyt2-(CD8, cytotoxic T-cells) positive cell populations were significantly increased in mice orally administered a hot water-soluble fraction from Agaricus blazei as compared with mice treated only with saline. 13C-NMR data indicates that the main component in the active polysaccharide is the complex of alpha-1,6- and alpha-1,4-glucan, which had already been shown to have anti-tumor activity against Sarcoma 180. It seems that the polysaccharide from Agaricus blazei may be an effective prophylactic, protecting humans against cancer by stimulating lymphocytes such as cytotoxic T-cells

Selective tumoricidal effect of soluble proteoglucan extracted from the basidiomycete, Agaricus blazei Murill, mediated via natural killer cell activation and apoptosis.

Fujimiya Y, Suzuki Y, Oshiman K, Kobori H, Moriguchi K, Nakashima H, Matumoto Y, Takahara S, Ebina T, Katakura R.
Cancer Immunol Immunother 1998 May;46(3):147-59

We have isolated a novel type of natural tumoricidal product from the basidiomycete strain, Agaricus blazei Murill. Using the double-grafted tumor system in Balb/c mice, treatment of the primary tumor with an acid-treated fraction (ATF) obtained from the fruit bodies resulted in infiltration of the distant tumor by natural killer (NK) cells with marked tumoricidal activity. As shown by electrophoresis and DNA fragmentation assay, the ATF also directly inhibited tumor cell growth in vitro by inducing apoptotic processing; this apoptotic effect was also demonstrated by increased expression of the Apo2.7 antigen on the mitochondrial membranes of tumor cells, as shown by flow-cytometric analysis. The ATF had no effect on normal mouse splenic or interleukin-2-treated splenic mononuclear cells, indicating that it is selectively cytotoxic for the tumor cells. Cell-cycle analysis demonstrated that ATF induced the loss of S phase in MethA tumor cells, but did not affect normal splenic mononuclear cells, which were mainly in the G0G1 phase. Various chromatofocussing purification steps and NMR analysis showed the tumoricidal activity to be chiefly present in fractions containing (1-->4)-alpha-D-glucan and (1-->6)-beta-D-glucan, present in a ratio of approximately 1:2 in the ATF (molecular mass 170 kDa), while the final purified fraction, HM3-G (molecular mass 380 kDa), with the highest tumoricidal activity, consisted of more than 90% glucose, the main component being (1-->4)-alpha-D-glucan with (1-->6)-beta branching, in the ratio of approximately 4:1

Antitumor effect of a peptide-glucan preparation extracted from Agaricus blazei in a double-grafted tumor system in mice.

Ebina T, Fujimiya Y.
Biotherapy 1998;11(4):259-65

The antitumor effect of extracts obtained from the fruit body of Agaricus blazei Murill was examined in a double-grafted tumor system, in which BALB/c mice received simultaneous intradermal injections of Meth-A tumor cells in both the right (10(6) cells) and left flank (2 x 10(5) cells), and were then injected with 5 mg of extracts of A. blazei in the right tumor on days 3, 4 and 5. Intratumoral administration of ethanol-soluble (Fraction 1), water-ethanol-soluble (Fraction 2), ammonium oxalate-soluble (Fraction 3) and ammonium oxalate-insoluble (Fraction 4) fractions resulted in inhibition of tumor growth, with Fraction 3 showing the most tumoricidal activity, producing regression of the right tumor and inhibition of growth of the left, non-injected tumor. The maximum effect was obtained using 0.5 mg of Fraction 3 and this amount was used in subsequent experiments. The antitumor effect of intratumorally administered Fraction 3 was enhanced by oral ad lib administration of feed containing 0.083% of Fraction 3. When immunized spleen cells from mice that had been cured by intratumoral administration of 0.5 mg of Fraction 3 were directly injected (2 x 10(7) cells/mouse) into the Meth-A tumor, tumor growth was inhibited. The tumor cells on day 7 from the Fraction 3-treated right tumor and from the left tumor were cultured for 24 h and their culture supernatants were assayed for neutrophil or macrophage chemotactic activity. Significant macrophage chemotactic factor activity was detected in the culture media from the left tumor tissue. Serum levels of immunosuppressive acidic protein (IAP), produced by activated macrophages and neutrophils, increased transiently soon after intradermal injection of 0.5 mg of Fraction 3. These results suggest that regression of the left non-injected tumor was due to an immune reaction, involving induction of cytotoxic cells in the spleen, and the release of chemotactic factors in the distant tumor

Tumor-specific cytocidal and immunopotentiating effects of relatively low molecular weight products derived from the basidiomycete, Agaricus blazei Murill.

Fujimiya Y, Suzuki Y, Katakura R, Ebina T.
Anticancer Res 1999 Jan;19(1A):113-8

Currently, some natural herbal extracts are believed to have a marked tumoricidal effect and low toxicity for normal tissues. We investigated the effect of relatively low molecular weight products extracted from the basidiomycete, Agaricus blazei Murill, on MethA tumor cell growth with the aim of producing synthetic derivatives based on these products. Inoculation of the low molecule fraction (LM) into the primary tumor of a two-tumor model resulted in the marked inhibition of the tumor, not only in the right flank, but also in the non-injected left flank. Chromatographic purification and physicochemical characterization showed the main tumoricidal activity to be located in a low molecule fraction-3 (LM-3), containing alpha-1,4-glucan-beta-1,6-glucan complex with an average molecular weight of 20 kDa. A11 LM fractions and crude ATF showed in vitro selective cytotoxicity for MethA tumor cells, having no effect on normal cells. Serum levels of immunosuppressive acidic protein (IAP) in mice receiving LM fractions, particularly LM-3, significantly increased, indicating the possible activation of granulocytes. We speculate that the inhibition of the distant tumor might be due to the increased migration of granulocytes, enhanced by the effect of extract injections at the primary tumor site

Isolation of an antitumor compound from Agaricus blazei Murill and its mechanism of action.

Takaku T, Kimura Y, Okuda H.
J Nutr 2001 May;131(5):1409-13

The Basidiomycete fungus Agaricus blazei Murill has traditionally been used as a health food for the prevention of cancer, diabetes, hyperlipidemia, arteriosclerosis and chronic hepatitis. In the present study, we examined the antitumor activities of various substances isolated from the lipid fraction of A. blazei. Tumor growth was retarded by the oral administration of the lipid fraction extracted from A. blazei with a chloroform/methanol mixture in sarcoma 180-bearing mice. The substance with the antitumor activity in the lipid fraction was isolated via silica gel column chromatography, eluted with an acetonitrile/methanol (3:2) mixture and identified as ergosterol by direct comparison of the (1)H NMR and mass spectrometry spectral data of an authentic sample. The oral administration of ergosterol to sarcoma 180-bearing mice significantly reduced tumor growth at doses of 400 and 800 mg/kg administered for 20 d without side effects, such as the decreases in body, epididymal adipose tissue, thymus, and spleen weights and leukocyte numbers induced by cancer chemotherapy drugs. Ergosterol had no cytotoxicity against tumor cells. To clarify the antitumor activity of ergosterol, we examined the effects of ergosterol on tumor-induced angiogenesis using two in vivo models. Intraperitoneal administration of ergosterol at doses of 5, 10 and 20 mg/kg for 5 consecutive d inhibited the neovascularization induced by Lewis lung carcinoma cell-packed chambers, suggesting that either ergosterol or its metabolites may be involved in the inhibition of tumor-induced neovascularization. Therefore, we further examined the inhibitory effects of ergosterol on Matrigel-induced neovascularization. Female C57BL/6 mice were subcutaneously inoculated with Matrigel containing acidic fibroblast growth factor and heparin with or without ergosterol. Ergosterol inhibited the Matrigel-induced neovascularization, suggesting that ergosterol directly inhibits Matrigel-induced neovascularization. From these results, it seems likely that the antitumor activity of ergosterol might be due to direct inhibition of angiogenesis induced by solid tumors. This is the first report of ergosterol as an antiangiogenic substance

Antitumor beta glucan from the cultured fruit body of Agaricus blazei.

Ohno N, Furukawa M, Miura NN, Adachi Y, Motoi M, Yadomae T.
Biol Pharm Bull 2001 Jul;24(7):820-8

Agaricus blazei is a medically important mushroom widely eaten and prescribed in Japan. Polysaccharide fractions were prepared from cultured A. blazei by repeated extraction with hot water (AgHWE), cold NaOH (AgCA), and then hot NaOH (AgHA). By chemical, enzymic, and NMR analyses, the primary structures of AgHWE, AgCA, and AgHA were mainly composed of 1,6-beta-glucan. Among these fractions, the NaOH extracts showed antitumor activity against the solid form of Sarcoma 180 in ICR mice. To demonstrate the active component in these fractions, several chemical and enzymic treatments were applied. These fractions were found to be i) neutral beta-glucan passing DEAE-Sephadex A-25, ii) resistant to periodate oxidation (I/B) and subsequent partial acid hydrolysis (I/B/H), iii) resistant to a 1,3-beta-glucanase, zymolyase, before I/B, but sensitive after I/B/H. In addition, after I/B/H treatment of the neutral fraction of AgCAE, a signal around 86 ppm attributable to 1,3-beta glucosidic linkage was detectable in the 13C-NMR spectrum. These facts strongly suggest that a highly branched 1,3-beta-glucan segment forms the active center of the antitumor activity

Secretion of TNF-alpha, IL-8 and nitric oxide by macrophages activated with Agaricus blazei Murill fractions in vitro.

Sorimachi K, Akimoto K, Ikehara Y, Inafuku K, Okubo A, Yamazaki S.
Cell Struct Funct 2001 Apr;26(2):103-8

Water extracts of the mycelial culture and fruiting bodies of Agaricus blazei Murill were fractionated by ethanol precipitation using various ethanol concentrations. Original water extracts from mycelia (Fraction A-0) and fruiting bodies (Fraction B-0) induced TNF-alpha secretion by macrophages derived from rat bone marrow. Fractions B-4 and B-5 obtained from ethanol precipitation of fruiting bodies using 44% and 50% ethanol, respectively, and Fraction B-6 obtained from the supernatant at 50% ethanol markedly induced TNF-alpha secretion. Similar effects were observed in IL-8 secretion by macrophages. Regarding nitric oxide (NO), Fraction B-5 induced a significant increase in NO secretion and Fractions B-4 and B-6 induced slightly NO secretion. Northern blot analysis showed that the increases in cytokine- and NO secretion were due to an increase in cytokine mRNAs or NO synthase mRNA. Therefore, it is concluded that Agaricus blazei Murill components which activate macrophages result in the induction of cytokine- and NO secretion in vitro

Antimutagenic effects of the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill extracts on V79 cells.

Menoli RC, Mantovani MS, Ribeiro LR, Speit G, Jordao BQ.
Mutat Res 2001 Sep;496(1-2):5-13

Agaricus blazei Murrill, a native mushroom in Brazil, has been widely consumed in different parts of the world due to its medicinal power. Its anticarcinogenic activity has been shown in experimental animals, and antimutagenic activity has been demonstrated only in Salmonella. In this work, the mutagenic and antimutagenic activities of mushroom teas of strains AB96/07, AB96/09 and AB97/11 were evaluated in Chinese hamster V79 cells, using the comet assay and the micronucleus test. The cells were treated with three different concentrations (0.05, 0.1 and 0.15) of teas prepared from a 2.5% aqueous solution, under three different temperatures: (1) room (20-25 degrees C); (2) ice-cold (2-8 degrees C); and (3) warm (60 degrees C). The teas were applied in co-, pre- and post-treatments in combination with the mutagen methyl methanesulfonate (MMS; 1.6x10(-4) and 4x10(-4)M). The duration of the treatment was 1h in the comet assay and 2h in the micronucleus test. The results showed that the mushroom was not mutagenic itself. Nevertheless, the mushroom is an efficient antimutagen against the induction of micronuclei by MMS in all concentrations and preparations tested. The observed reductions in the frequencies of micronuclei ranged from 61.5 (room temperature 0.1% tea in post-treatment) to 110.3% (co-treatment with warm and ice-cold 0.15% tea). In the comet assay, the antimutagenic activity was detected only when the cells were pre-treated with the following teas: warm 0.1 and 0.15%, room temperature 0.05% and ice-cold 0.1%. The results indicate that the mushroom A. blazei extracts are antimutagenic when tested in V79 cells

Antimutagenic effect of Agaricus blazei Murrill mushroom on the genotoxicity induced by cyclophosphamide.

Delmanto RD, de Lima PL, Sugui MM, da Eira AF, Salvadori DM, Speit G, Ribeiro LR.
Mutat Res 2001 Sep;496(1-2):15-21

Agaricus blazei Murrill extracts have previously been shown to have anticarcinogenic and antimutagenic properties. These results suggest that antimutagenic activity, besides the modulation of the immune system, might be involved in the anticarcinogenic action of A. blazei. To investigate the possible antimutagenic effect of A. blazei in vivo, we evaluated its effect on clastogenicity induced by cyclophosphamide (CP) in mice, using the micronucleus test in bone marrow (MNPCE) and in peripheral blood (MNRET). Male Swiss mice were treated with CP (25 or 50mg/kg i.p.) or with CP plus mushroom solution at three different temperatures: 4, 21, and 60 degrees C. Aqueous solution of a mixture from various lineages of the mushroom inhibited induction of micronuclei by CP in bone marrow and in peripheral blood of mice. In contrast to the mixture of lineages, a single isolated lineage did not lead to a reduction of CP-induced MN frequencies in either bone marrow or blood cells of mice. The results suggest that under certain circumstances these mushrooms exhibit antimutagenic activities that might contribute to an anticarcinogenic effect

Effect of hot water extract from Agaricus blazei Murill on antibody-producing cells in mice.

Nakajima A, Ishida T, Koga M, Takeuchi T, Mazda O, Takeuchi M.
Int Immunopharmacol 2002 Jul;2(8):1205-11

We investigated the immunopotentiating activities of boiled water-soluble extracts from desiccated Agaricus blazei Murill (ABM). Effect of ABM extract on antibody production was investigated by method of hemolytic plaque-forming cells (PFC) against sheep red blood cells (SRBC) antigen. ABM extracts significantly (p<0.01) increased the number of PFC in spleen with intraperitoneal administration at doses of 25 mg/kg as compared with control group. The populations of Mac-1- or CD25-positive cells significantly (p<0.01, p<0.001) increased, but in CD19-positive cells, there were no differences in ABM-treated mice as compared with control mice. The expressions of IL-6 and IL-1beta mRNA were augmented by ABM extract in both peritoneal macrophages and spleen cells. These results suggested that ABM extract might be an effective stimulator for T cell and macrophage to IL-1beta and IL-6 release, resulting in augmentation of antibody production against SRBC antigen

Activation of the alternative complement pathway by Agaricus blazei Murill.

Shimizu S, Kitada H, Yokota H, Yamakawa J, Murayama T, Sugiyama K, Izumi H, Yamaguchi N.
Phytomedicine 2002 Sep;9(6):536-45

Components of Agaricus blazei Murill have been demonstrated to have a wide range of immunopotentiating activities. The present study was designed to evaluate the effect of A. blazei Murill upon activation of the complement system in human serum in vitro. Additional studies were performed to determine the cytotoxic effect of complement-opsonized particles of A. blazei Murill against human tumor cells in culture. A fine particle of A. blazei Murill (ABP), prepared by mechanical disruption, was used throughout the experiments. ABP activated the human complement system via the alternative pathway in human serum. Activation of the alternative pathway was both time- and dose-dependent. When the particles from fruiting bodies of A. blazei Murill (ABP-F) were reacted with human serum, the formation of complement-opsonized ABP, iC3b-ABP-F complexes, and binding of the complexes to human peripheral blood monocytes, were demonstrated in vitro by immunofluorescence. Further, the resident human peripheral nucleated cells incubated in the presence of iC3b-ABP-F complexes inhibited the proliferation of human tumor cell line TPC-1 in vitro

Influence of aqueous extract of Agaricus blazei on rat liver toxicity induced by different doses of diethylnitrosamine.

Barbisan LF, Miyamoto M, Scolastici C, Salvadori DM, Ribeiro LR, Eira AF, de Camargo JL.
J Ethnopharmacol 2002 Nov;83(1-2):25-32

The modifying potential of prior administration of an aqueous extract of the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill (Agaricaceae) (Ab) on hepatotoxicity induced by different doses of diethylnitrosamine (DEN) in male Wistar rats was evaluated. During 2 weeks, animals of groups G3 (Ab+DEN(50)), G5 (Ab+DEN(100)), G7 (Ab+DEN(200)), and G8 (Ab-treated) were treated with the A. blazei through drinking water. After this period, groups G2 (DEN(50)), G3 (Ab+DEN(50)), G4 (DEN(100)) G5 (Ab+DEN(100)), G6 (DEN(200)), and G7 (Ab+DEN(200)) were given a single i.p. injection of 50, 100 and 200 mg/kg of DEN, respectively, while groups G1 (non-treated) and G8 (Ab-treated) were treated with 0.9% NaCl only. All animals were killed 48 h after DEN or NaCl treatments. The hepatocyte replication rate was estimated by the index of the proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) positive hepatocytes and the appearance of putative preneoplastic hepatocytes through expression of the enzyme glutathione S-transferase placental form (GST-P). After DEN-treatment, ALT levels, PCNA labeling index, and the number of GST-P positive hepatocytes were lower in rats that received A. blazei treatment and were exposed to 100 mg/kg of DEN. Our findings suggest that previous treatment with A. blazei exerts a hepatoprotective effect on both liver toxicity and hepatocarcinogenesis process induced by a moderately toxic dose of DEN

Anti-genotoxic effect of aqueous extracts of sun mushroom (Agaricus blazei Murill lineage 99/26) in mammalian cells in vitro.

Martins de Oliveira J, Jordao BQ, Ribeiro LR, Ferreira da EA, Mantovani MS.
Food Chem Toxicol 2002 Dec;40(12):1775-80

The "sun mushroom" is the popular name for the Agaricus blazei Murill fungus, a mushroom native to south-eastern Brazil, which has been frequently used in popular medicine mainly in the form of tea to treat various ailments (stress, diabetes, etc.). In the present study, the genotoxic and/or anti-genotoxic effects ofA. blazei on mammalian cells in culture was assessed by checking the increase or reduction of micronucleus (MN) frequency and comets. The sun mushroom (lineage 99/26) was used as aqueous extracts prepared (2.5%) at three different temperatures (60, 25 and 4 degrees C). The in vitro micronucleus (MN) test in binucleated cells and comet assay were used in V79 cells cultivated in HAM-F10+DMEM medium (1:1), supplemented with 10% of fetal bovine serum. The experiments were divided into four treatment types: 1. Negative control; 2. Positive control with MMS; 3. Treatments with the three forms of extracts (60, 25 and 4 degrees C); and 4. Treatments with the extracts in different associations (simultaneous, pre-treatment, post-treatment and simultaneous after pre-incubation for 1 h) with MMS. None of the A. blazei extracts show genotoxic activity. In the comet assay no protecting effect was found. The results obtained in the MN test showed that the three forms of extracts used had protective activity, suggesting that the compound or active ingredients of A. blazei are always present in these extracts. The greater protective efficiency of the simultaneous treatment and simultaneous treatment with pre-incubation mixture with MMS suggests that the extracts have an antimutagenic action of the desmutagenic type

Chemoprevention of preneoplastic liver foci development by dietary mushroom Agaricus blazei Murrill in the rat.

Pinheiro F, Faria RR, de Camargo JL, Spinardi-Barbisan AL, da Eira AF, Barbisan LF.
Food Chem Toxicol 2003 Nov;41(11):1543-50

The chemopreventive potential of an Agaricus blazei (Ab) Murrill mushroom meal was investigated in a medium-term rat liver carcinogenesis assay. Male Wistar rats initiated for hepatocarcinogenesis with diethylnitrosamine (DEN, 200 mg/kg i.p.) were fed during a 6-week period with the dry powdered mushroom strains Ab 29 or 26, each one with opened (OB) or closed basidiocarp (CB), mixed at 10% level in a basal diet. All experimental animals and controls were subjected to partial hepatectomy at week 3 and killed at week 8. Chemopreventive activity of the mushroom meal was observed for the Ab 29 (OB and CB) and Ab 26 (CB) strains in terms of the number of putative preneoplastic altered foci of hepatocytes which express either the enzyme glutathione S-transferase, placental form (GST-P+) or the transforming growth factor-alpha, and for the Ab 29 (OB) and Ab 26 (CB) strains on the size of GST-P+ foci. This was associated with inhibition of foci cell proliferation in the animals fed the Ab 29 (OB) and Ab 26 (CB) strains. The results suggest that the protective influence of the Ab meal against the DEN potential for rat liver carcinogenicity depends on both the strain and period of mushroom harvest

Oral administration of Agaricus blazei (H1 strain) inhibited tumor growth in a sarcoma 180 inoculation model.

Lee YL, Kim HJ, Lee MS, Kim JM, Han JS, Hong EK, Kwon MS, Lee MJ.
Exp Anim 2003 Oct;52(5):371-5

Agaricus blazei (H1 strain) was tested for its anticancer activity using a sarcoma 180 (S180) inoculation model and the changing patterns of splenocyte subsets were examined. Its hot-water extract was administered orally to ICR and KSN nude mice that were inoculated with S180. The growth of S180 was significantly inhibited in A.blazei treated groups. Pan T cells significantly increased in all treated groups compared to controls, even in KSN nude mice. Splenocyte subset changes were slightly different between ICR and KSN nude mice. This S180 inoculation model proved to be effective in screening the antitumor effect of basidiomycetes and allowed comparisons of immunological cellular changes between the mouse strains

Coimmunization of Agaricus blazei Murill extract with hepatitis B virus core protein through DNA vaccine enhances cellular and humoral immune responses.

Chen L, Shao HJ, Su YB.
Int Immunopharmacol 2004 Mar;4(3):403-9

DNA vaccines induce protective humoral and cell-mediated immune responses in several animal models. Agaricus blazei Murill (ABM) is particularly rich in polysaccharides, and has shown particularly strong results in treating and preventing cancers. The goal of this study was to investigate whether co-immunization of the fungus ABM with hepatitis B virus (HBV) core DNA vaccine could increase the immune responses. Compared with the control mice which received hepatitis B virus core antigen (HBcAg) alone, significant increase in not only the HBcAg-specific antibody response but also T cell proliferation was observed in mice which received HBcAg DNA vaccine plus ABM extract. These results suggest that ABM extract might represent an adjuvant to improve the efficacy of DNA vaccines in vivo

Effects of extracts from Brazilian sun-mushroom (Agaricus blazei) on the NK activity and lymphoproliferative responsiveness of Ehrlich tumor-bearing mice.

Kaneno R, Fontanari LM, Santos SA, Di Stasi LC, Rodrigues FE, Eira AF.
Food Chem Toxicol 2004 Jun;42(6):909-16

Agaricus blazei Murrill, is an edible and medicinal mushroom which is popularly consumed due to its antitumoral properties. The immunomodulatory effects of methanol (METH), dichloromethane (DM) and n-hexane (HEX) extracts of this mushroom were evaluated in Ehrlich tumor-bearing mice. Subcutaneous inoculation of Ehrlich tumor cells inhibited the natural killer (NK) activity of spleen cells (specific lysis=6.18+/-2.56%) compared with normal mice (17.59+/-7.77%). Treatment of tumor-bearing mice with the extracts for 10 days restored the natural killer activity against Yac-1 target cells and the best results were observed by treatment with the HEX extract (21.48+/-5.26%). Treatment of the animals with the HEX extract for 10 days was also able to stimulate the mitogen-induced lymphoproliferative activity of spleen cells. Thirty days after the treatment, all groups presented low proliferative activity. Specific antibody production was observed to be higher in the groups treated with the DM or METH extract 30 days after the treatment. Analysis of the 3 extracts by gas chromatography mass spectrum (GCMS) and magnetic nuclear resonance (MNR) showed that the HEX extract contains mainly sugar and fatty acids and that the METH extract also contains sugar and possibly amino acids

Natural killer cell activity and quality of life were improved by consumption of a mushroom extract, Agaricus blazei Murill Kyowa, in gynecological cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

Ahn WS, Kim DJ, Chae GT, Lee JM, Bae SM, Sin JI, Kim YW, Namkoong SE, Lee IP.
Int J Gynecol Cancer 2004 Jul;14(4):589-94

A mushroom extract, Agaricus blazei Murill Kyowa (ABMK), has been reported to possess antimutagenic and antitumor effects. Here, we investigate the beneficial effects of ABMK consumption on immunological status and qualities of life in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. One hundred cervical, ovarian, and endometrial cancer patients were treated either with carboplatin (300 mg / m(2)) plus VP16 (etoposide, 100 mg / m(2)) or with carboplatin (300 mg / m(2)) plus taxol (175 mg / m(2)) every 3 weeks for at least three cycles with or without oral consumption of ABMK. We observed that natural killer cell activity was significantly higher in ABMK-treated group (ANOVA, n = 39, P < 0.002) as compared with nontreated placebo group (n = 61). However, no significant difference in lymphokine-activated killer and monocyte activities was observed in a manner similar to the count of specific immune cell populations between ABMK-treated and nontreated groups. However, chemotherapy-associated side effects such as appetite, alopecia, emotional stability, and general weakness were all improved by ABMK treatment. Taken together, this suggests that ABMK treatment might be beneficial for gynecological cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy

Isolation of an anti-angiogenic substance from Agaricus blazei Murill: its antitumor and antimetastatic actions.

Kimura Y, Kido T, Takaku T, Sumiyoshi M, Baba K.
Cancer Sci 2004 Sep;95(9):758-64

We previously found that ergosterol isolated from Agaricus blazei inhibited tumor growth through the inhibition of tumor-induced neovascularization. In the present study, we isolated further anti-angiogenic substances (A-1 and A-2) from this fungus using an assay system of angiogenesis induced by Matrigel supplemented with vascular endothelial growth factor, and A-1 was identified as sodium pyroglutamate. Next, we examined the antitumor and antimetastatic actions of A-1 using Lewis lung carcinoma (LLC)-bearing mice. A-1 (30, 100 and 300 mg/kg) inhibited tumor growth and metastasis to the lung. The reduction of the numbers of splenic lymphocytes, CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in LLC-bearing mice was inhibited by the oral administration of A-1 (30, 100 and 300 mg/kg). Further, A-1 increased the number of apoptotic cells of tumors and the numbers of CD8+ T and natural killer cells invading the tumors, and inhibited the increase of von Willebrand factor expression (a measure of angiogenesis) in the tumors. These results suggest that the antitumor and antimetastatic actions of A-1 (sodium pyroglutamate) may be associated with inhibition of the reduction of immune response caused by the tumor growth and tumor-induced neovascularization. This is the first report showing that sodium pyroglutamate isolated from A. blazei as an anti-angiogenic substance has potent antitumor and antimetastatic actions, as well as immune-modulatory activity, in tumor-bearing mice

IL-12 Production Induced by Agaricus blazei Fraction H (ABH) Involves Toll-like Receptor (TLR).

Kasai H, He LM, Kawamura M, Yang PT, Deng XW, Munkanta M, Yamashita A, Terunuma H, Hirama M, Horiuchi I, Natori T, Koga T, Amano Y, Yamaguchi N, Ito M.
Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2004 Dec;1(3):259-67

Agaricus blazei Murill is an edible fungus used in traditional medicine, which has various well-documented medicinal properties. In the present study, we investigated the effects of hemicellulase-derived mycelia extract (Agaricus blazei fraction H: ABH) on the immune system. First, we examined the cytokine-inducing activity of ABH on human peripheral mononuclear cells (PBMC). The results indicated that ABH induced expression of IL-12, a cytokine known to be a critical regulator of cellular immune responses. Flow cytometric analysis demonstrated the induction of IL-12 production by the CD14-positive cell population, consisting of monocytes/macrophages (Mo/Mphi). Furthermore, the elimination of Mo/Mphi attenuated IL-12 production in PBMC. ABH-induced IL-12 production was inhibited by anti-CD14 and anti-TLR4 antibodies but not by anti-TLR2 antibody. The activity of ABH was not inhibited by polymyxin B, while the activity of lipopolysaccharide used as a reference was inhibited. Oral administration of ABH enhanced natural killer (NK) activity in the spleen. These findings suggest that ABH activated Mo/Mphi in a manner dependent on CD14/TLR4 and NK activity

Effect of water-soluble proteoglycan isolated from Agaricus blazei on the maturation of murine bone marrow-derived dendritic cells.

Kim GY, Lee MY, Lee HJ, Moon DO, Lee CM, Jin CY, Choi YH, Jeong YK, Chung KT, Lee JY, Choi IH, Park YM.
Int Immunopharmacol 2005 Sep;5(10):1523-32

Water-soluble proteoglycan (WSPG) of Agaricus blazei Murill has been known to stimulate the non-specific complements and humoral immune functions to act as polyclonal activators of B cells and to inhibit tumor growth and metastasis. However, little is known about its immunomodulating effects on murine bone marrow (BM)-derived dendritic cells (DC). In the present study, we examined the maturation process of murine BM-DC. BM cells were cultured in the presence of IL-4 and GM-CSF and the generated immature DC were stimulated with WSPG or LPS (WSPG-DC and LPS-DC, respectively) for 24 h. WSPG significantly enhanced the expression of co-stimulatory molecules (CD80 and CD86) and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) II, as did LPS. IL-12p70 production in WSPG-DC was also identical to that in LPS-DC. The antigen-uptake capacity of WSPG-DC was determined by FITC-labeled dextran uptake. WSPG-DC lost dextran uptake capacity comparable to LPS-DC. The antigen-presenting capacity of WSPG-DC as analyzed by allogeneic T cell proliferation was significantly increased in comparison with immature DC, was identical to LPS-DC, and induced higher levels of IL-2 in responding T cells. These results indicate the immunomodulatory properties of WSPG, which might be therapeutically useful in the control of cancers and immunodeficient diseases through the up-regulation of DC maturation

An extract of the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill administered orally protects against systemic Streptococcus pneumoniae infection in mice.

Bernardshaw S, Johnson E, Hetland G.
Scand J Immunol 2005 Oct;62(4):393-8

The aim was to investigate the antibacterial effect of the biologically active and edible mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM). A water extract of AbM or PBS control was administered orally before or with challenge to NIH/OlaHsd mice, experimentally infected intraperitoneally with the moderately virulent Streptococcus pneumoniae serotype 6B. End points were bacteraemia and survival rate. The AbM extract, protected against systemic S. pneumoniae 6B infection in the mice. It was most effective when given 24 h before inoculation but did also have protective effects when given together with challenge compared with control. The lack of antibiotic effect on pneumococci in vitro and increased levels of cytokines MIP-2 and TNF-alpha in the serum of mice receiving AbM extract, indicated that the protective effect of AbM was due to the involvement of the native immune system. This is the first report of anti-infection effects of AbM in vivo. Our results suggest that AbM extract may be useful as additional prophylactic and possibly therapeutic treatment against bacterial and possibly other infections in humans

In vitro augmentation of natural killer activity and interferon-gamma production in murine spleen cells with Agaricus blazei fruiting body fractions.

Zhong M, Tai A, Yamamoto I.
Biosci Biotechnol Biochem 2005 Dec;69(12):2466-9

Aqueous extracts of the Agaricus blazei fruiting body prepared at different temperatures were fractionated by ethanol precipitation with various ethanol concentrations. The original aqueous extracts of A. blazei failed to stimulate natural killer (NK) cell activity in murine spleen cells in vitro, but the strongest effect was observed in a 30% ethanol-soluble-50% ethanol-insoluble fraction prepared from the extract at 40 degrees C (fraction A-50). Fraction A-50 also showed the strongest augmenting effect on interferon (IFN)-gamma production. This augmentation of NK activity and IFN-gamma production by fraction A-50 was completely abrogated by a heat treatment

An extract of the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill protects against lethal septicemia in a mouse model of fecal peritonitis.

Bernardshaw S, Hetland G, Grinde B, Johnson E.
Shock 2006 Apr;25(4):420-5

Bacterial septicemia is frequently occurring during gastroenterological surgery. Because of increasing problems in hospitals with bacteria developing multiresistance against antibiotics, prophylactic treatment using immunomodulators is interesting. We have examined the putatively anti-infective immunomodulatory action of the edible mushroom, Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM), in an experimental peritonitis model in BALB/c mice. The mice were orally given an extract of AbM or phosphate-buffered saline 1 day before the induction of peritonitis with various concentrations of feces from the mice. The state of septicemia, as measured by the number of colony-forming units of bacteria in blood, and the survival rate of the animals were compared between the groups. Mice that were orally treated with AbM extract before bacterial challenge showed significantly lower levels of septicemia and improved survival rates. Our findings suggest that the AbM extract, when given prophylactically, may improve health. Further studies are needed on humans when considering whether AbM could be used as an alternative treatment modality for patients at risk of contracting serious bacterial peritonitis

Effects on gene expression and viral load of a medicinal extract from Agaricus blazei in patients with chronic hepatitis C infection.

Grinde B, Hetland G, Johnson E.
Int Immunopharmacol 2006 Aug;6(8):1311-4

Extracts from the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM) are used extensively as a non-prescription remedy against cancer and infections, including hepatitis. We previously demonstrated a potent immunomodulating effect of a particular preparation on monocytes in vitro, and a protective effect on bacterial infections in mice. Here we report the effect on gene expression in peripheral blood cells from four chronic hepatitis C patients, using global (29 k) oligo-based, single channel microarrays. The viral load was slightly, but not significantly, decreased after 1 week of AbM treatment. The cytokine genes most strongly induced in vitro were not induced in vivo. The more notable changes in mRNA levels were related to genes involved in the G-protein coupled receptor signalling pathway, in cell cycling, and in transcriptional regulation. The results suggest that the beta-glucans of the extract, which presumably are responsible for cytokine induction, did not readily enter the blood, while other components, such as substances proposed to have anticancer effects, were active in the blood

Protective effects of beta-glucan extracted from Agaricus brasiliensis against chemically induced DNA damage in human lymphocytes.

Angeli JP, Ribeiro LR, Gonzaga ML, Soares SA, Ricardo MP, Tsuboy MS, Stidl R, Knasmueller S, Linhares RE, Mantovani MS.
Cell Biol Toxicol 2006 Jul;22(4):285-91

beta-Glucans (BGs) are polysaccharides that are found in the cell walls of organisms such as bacteria, fungi, and some cereals. The objective of the present study was to investigate the genotoxic and antigenotoxic effects of BG extracted from the mushroom Agaricus brasiliensis (=Agaricus blazei Murrill ss. Heinemann). The mutagenic activity of BG was tested in single-cell gel electrophoresis assays with human peripheral lymphocytes. In addition, the protective effects against the cooked food mutagen 3-amino-1-methyl-5H-pyrido[4,3-b]indole (Trp-P-2) and (+/-)-anti-B[a]P-7,8-dihydrodiol-9,10-epoxide (BPDE), which is the main metabolite of B[a]P, and against ROS (H(2)O(2))-induced DNA damage, were studied. The results showed that the compound itself was devoid of mutagenic activity, and that a significant dose-dependent protective effect against damage induced by hydrogen peroxide and Trp-P-2 occurred in the dose range 20-80 microg/ml. To investigate the prevention of Trp-P-2-induced DNA damage, a binding assay was carried out to determine whether BG inactivates the amine via direct binding. Since no such interactions were observed, it is likely that BG interacts with enzymes involved in the metabolism of the amine

Inhibitory effects of Agaricus blazei on mast cell-mediated anaphylaxis-like reactions.

Choi YH, Yan GH, Chai OH, Choi YH, Zhang X, Lim JM, Kim JH, Lee MS, Han EH, Kim HT, Song CH
Biol Pharm Bull 2006 Jul;29(7):1366-71

Agaricus blazei is a medicinal mushroom native to Brazil. It used to be a source of anti-tumor and immunmoactive compounds and considered a health food in many countries. However, its specific effect against mast cell-mediated anaphylactic reactions is still unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effect of Agaricus blazei water extract (ABWE) on mast cell-mediated anaphylaxis-like reactions. We examined whether ABWE could inhibit systemic anaphylaxis-like reaction, ear swelling response, passive cutaneous anaphylaxis, and mast cell activation. ABWE inhibited compound 48/80-induced systemic anaphylaxis-like reaction, ear swelling response, and passive cutaneous anaphylaxis-like reaction in mice. ABWE also inhibited anti-dinitrophenyl (DNP) IgE-mediated passive cutaneous anaphylaxis. ABWE dose-dependently inhibited compound 48/80-induced or anti-DNP IgE-mediated histamine release from rat peritoneal mast cells (RPMC). Moreover, pretreatment with ABWE reduced compound 48/80-induced calcium uptake into RPMC. When ABWE was added, the level of intracellular cAMP in RPMC showed a significant increase compared with that of control cells. In addition, ABWE significantly inhibited compound 48/80-induced cAMP reduction in RPMC. These results propose that ABWE may be beneficial in the treatment of mast cell-mediated anaphylactic reactions

Interleukin-12- and interferon-gamma-mediated natural killer cell activation by Agaricus blazei Murill.

Yuminamochi E, Koike T, Takeda K, Horiuchi I, Okumura K.
Immunology 2007 Jun;121(2):197-206

Dried fruiting bodies of Agaricus blazei Murill (A. blazei) and its extracts have generally used as complementary and alternative medicines (CAMs). Here, we report that the oral administration of A. blazei augmented cytotoxicity of natural killer (NK) cells in wild-type (WT) C57BL/6, C3H/HeJ, and BALB/c mice. Augmented cytotoxicity was demonstrated by purified NK cells from treated wild-type (WT) and RAG-2-deficient mice, but not from interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) deficient mice. NK cell activation and IFN-gamma production was also observed in vitro when dendritic cell (DC)-rich splenocytes of WT mice were coincubation with an extract of A. blazei. Both parameters were largely inhibited by neutralizing anti-interleukin-12 (IL-12) monoclonal antibody (mAb) and completely inhibited when anti-IL-12 mAb and anti-IL-18 mAb were used in combination. An aqueous extract of the hemicellulase-digested compound of A. blazei particle; (ABPC) induced IFN-gamma production more effectively, and this was completely inhibited by anti-IL-12 mAb alone. NK cell cytotoxicty was augmented with the same extracts, again in an IL-12 and IFN-gamma-dependent manner. These results clearly demonstrated that A. blazei and ABPC augmented NK cell activation through IL-12-mediated IFN-gamma production

Antioxidant activity of Agaricus blazei.

Oliveira OM, Vellosa JC, Fernandes AS, Buffa-Filho W, Hakime-Silva RA, Furlan M, Brunetti IL.
Fitoterapia 2007 Apr;78(3):263-4

The ethanolic extract of Agaricus blazei and ethyl acetate and hydroalcoholic fractions were evaluated for their antioxidant activity

Effect of an extract of the mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on expression of adhesion molecules and production of reactive oxygen species in monocytes and granulocytes in human whole blood ex vivo.

Bernardshaw S, Lyberg T, Hetland G, Johnson E.
APMIS 2007 Jun;115(6):719-25

We have reported that an extract of the edible officinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM) stimulates synthesis of pro-inflammatory cytokines in human monocytes and vein endothelial cells in vitro and reduces the extent of lethal septicemia in mice with bacterial peritonitis. In the present study on human monocytes and granulocytes in whole blood ex vivo, we studied the dynamic changes of cell adhesion molecules (CD11b, CD62L) and the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) after stimulation with AbM. The presence of AbM resulted in a similarly increased expression of CD11b in monocytes and granulocytes, although at a lower AbM concentration in monocytes (0.5%) than in granulocytes (2%). Furthermore, there was an AbM-mediated decrease in CD62L expression mirroring the effect on CD11b expression regarding magnitude and dose response. The intracellular production of ROS increased slightly but significantly in granulocytes, but not in monocytes stimulated with AbM. The results suggested that the major effect of AbM on monocytes and granulocytes was the upregulation of CD11b expression, thereby increasing both the phagocytic potential and the ablility to induce diapedesis into inflammatory foci. The rich beta-glucan content of AbM could play a crucial role in this immune response

Therapy of myeloma in vivo using marine phospholipid in combination with Agaricus blazei Murill as an immune respond activator.

Murakawa K, Fukunaga K, Tanouchi M, Hosokawa M, Hossain Z, Takahashi K.
J Oleo Sci 2007;56(4):179-88

Mushroom (Agaricus blazei Murill) extract has been reported to possess antitumor effects through immune activation. Here, we investigated the beneficial effects of combining A. blazei extract with marine phospholipids in comparison to A. blazei extract alone on myeloma sp2 tumor suppression when orally administrated. The experimental groups designed for sp2 tumor bearing BALB/c nu/nu mice were drinks of: (1)control; (2)1.0 mg/mL squid phospholipid liposome alone; (3)0.5 mg/mL A. blazei Murill water extract alone; (4)1.0 mg/mL squid phospholipid liposome with 0.5 mg/mL A. blazei Murill water extract in the form of those simple mixture; and (5)1.0 mg/mL squid phospholipid liposome with 0.5 mg/mL A. blazei Murill water extract partially encapsulated. Orally administrated volumes amounted to approximately 5 mL per day per mouse for all groups. A. blazei Murill water extract alone and squid phospholipid alone served groups show moderate tumor suppression with total administrations of approximately 105 mg/mouse for squid phospholipid through out the experimental term. When both A. blazei Murill water extract and squid phospholipid were administrated simultaneously in a simple mixture form, promotional effect on cancer tumor suppression was observed. And when A. blazei Murill water extract was partially encapsulated in the squid phospholipid liposomes with total administrations being 105 mg/mouse for squid phospholipid, effect on cancer tumor suppression was more pronounced. Though there was no statistically significant difference in tumor sizes between the simple mixture form administrated group i.e. group (4) and the partially encapsulated form administrated group i.e. group (5), the tumor vanished mouse was seen in the partially encapsulated form administrated group. Thus it was concluded that combinational administration of the A. blazei Murill water extract and the marine phospholipid may be useful in myeloma sp2 therapy

Measuring perceived effects of drinking an extract of basidiomycetes Agaricus blazei Murill: a survey of Japanese consumers with cancer.

Talcott JA, Clark JA, Lee IP.
BMC Complement Altern Med 2007;7:32

To survey cancer patients who consume an extract of the Basidiomycetes Agaricus blazei Murill mushroom (Sen-Sei-Ro) to measure their self-assessment of its effects and to develop an instrument for use in future randomized trials. METHODS: We designed, translated and mailed a survey to 2,346 Japanese consumers of Sen-Sei-Ro self-designated as cancer patients. The survey assessed consumer demographics, cancer history, Sen-Sei-Ro consumption, and its perceived effects. We performed exploratory psychometric analyses to identify distinct, multi-item scales that could summarize perceptions of effects. RESULTS: We received completed questionnaires from 782 (33%) of the sampled Sen-Sei-Ro consumers with a cancer history. Respondents represented a broad range of cancer patients familiar with Sen-Sei-Ro. Nearly all had begun consumption after their cancer diagnosis. These consumers expressed consistently positive views, though not extremely so, with more benefit reported for more abstract benefits such as emotional and physical well-being than relief of specific symptoms. We identified two conceptually and empirically distinct and internally consistent summary scales measuring Sen-Sei-Ro consumers' perceptions of its effects, Relief of Symptoms and Functional Well-being (Cronbach's alpha: Relief of Symptoms, alpha = .74; Functional Well-Being, alpha = .91). CONCLUSION: Respondents to our survey of Sen-Sei-Ro consumers with cancer reported favorable perceived effects from its use. Our instrument, when further validated, may be a useful outcome in trials assessing this and other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) substances in cancer patients

The mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill extract normalizes liver function in patients with chronic hepatitis B.

Hsu CH, Hwang KC, Chiang YH, Chou P.
J Altern Complement Med 2008 Apr;14(3):299-301

Hepatitis B is a global health problem. Use of complementary and alternative medicine has been popular among patients with hepatitis B. This 1-year open-label pilot study aims to observe whether Agaricus blazei Murill extract improves liver function in patients with hepatitis B. METHODS: This study involved 12 months of clinical observation. Four (4) patients with hepatitis B who met the criteria (1) aged between 20 and 65 years; (2) being Chinese; (3) having been a hepatic B carrier (HBAg(+)) for more than 3 years; (4) alanine aminotransferase > 100 IU/L; and (5) not taking lamivudine, alpha-interferon, or other drugs for hepatitis participated in the study with informed consent. The enrolled patients were given Agaricus blazei Murill (ABM) extract of 1500 mg daily for 12 months. The level of alanine aminotransferase was taken as the major outcome measurement. RESULTS: At the end of the study, the mean level of aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase decreased from 246.0 (+/- standard deviation [SD] 138.9) to 61.3 (+/- SD 32.6) IU/L and 151.0 (+/- SD 86.9) to 46.1 (+/- SD 22.5) IU/L, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Our initial observation seems to indicate the potential benefit of ABM extract in normalizing liver function of patients with hepatitis B. Controlled studies with larger samples should be conducted in the future

In vivo growth-inhibition of Sarcoma 180 by an alpha-(1-->4)-glucan-beta-(1-->6)-glucan-protein complex polysaccharide obtained from Agaricus blazei Murill.

Gonzaga ML, Bezerra DP, Alves AP, de Alencar NM, Mesquita RO, Lima MW, Soares SA, Pessoa C, de Moraes MO, Costa-Lotufo LV.
J Nat Med 2009 Jan;63(1):32-40

Agaricus blazei Murrill, a native mushroom of Brazil, has been widely consumed in different parts of the world due to its anticancer potential. This effect is generally attributed to its polysaccharides; however, the precise structure of these has not been fully characterized. To better understand the relationship between polysaccharide structures and antitumor activity, we investigated the effect of the intraperitoneally (i.p.) or orally (p.o.) administered alpha-(1-->4)-glucan-beta-(1-->6)-glucan-protein complex polysaccharide from A. blazei alone or in association with 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) in tumor growth using Sarcoma 180 transplanted mice. Hematological, biochemical, and histopathological analyses were performed in order to evaluate the toxicological aspects of the polysaccharide treatment. The polysaccharide had no direct cytotoxic action on tumor cells in vitro. However, the polysaccharide showed strong in vivo antitumor effect. Thus, the tumor growth-inhibitory effect of the polysaccharide is apparently due to host-mediated mechanisms. The histopathological analysis suggests that the liver and the kidney were not affected by polysaccharide treatment. Neither enzymatic activity of transaminases (AST and ALT) nor urea levels were significantly altered. In hematological analysis, leucopeny was observed after 5-FU treatment, but this effect was prevented when the treatment was associated with the polysaccharide. In conclusion, this polysaccharide probably could explain the ethnopharmacological use of this mushroom in the treatment of cancer

Effects of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill on immunity, infection and cancer.

Hetland G, Johnson E, Lyberg T, Bernardshaw S, Tryggestad AM, Grinde B.
Scand J Immunol 2008 Oct;68(4):363-70

Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM) is an edible, medicinal mushroom of Brazilian origin. It is used traditionally against a range of diseases, including cancer and chronic hepatitis, and has been cultivated commercially for the health food market. AbM has recently been shown to have strong immunomodulating properties, which has led to increasing scientific interest. In this article, we review current knowledge as to the immunological properties of AbM, and its possible clinical use in connection with infections and cancer. We also present some novel findings, which point to highly different biological potency between AbM extracts of different source and manufacturing

Tumoricidal effects of beta-glucans: mechanisms include both antioxidant activity plus enhanced systemic and topical immunity.

Gu Y, Fujimiya Y, Itokawa Y, Oshima M, Choi JS, Miura T, Ishida T.
Nutr Cancer 2008;60(5):685-91

A study to evaluate the mechanisms of tumoricidal activity resulting from orally administered extract of Agaricus blazei Murill (A. blazei) was performed in mice bearing syngeneic and xenogeneic tumors. Tumor regression was comparably seen in both syngeneic and xenogeneic tumor-bearing mice when administered oral extract preparations. In addition, in a murine syngeneic tumor model, oral administration of water-soluble extracts of A. blazei resulted in significant production of cytokines such as IFN-gamma, and TNF-alpha in peritoneal exudate cells, in parallel with the marked regression of tumor development. The water-soluble extracts also induced pronounced antioxidant activity in in vitro and in vivo assays using two different methods. These results indicate the A. blazei extract may enhance not only the immnunomodulatory effects that promote activity of peritoneal exudate cells for tumor regression but also potentially result in the direct destruction of tumor cells through its antioxidant activity

Inhibitory mechanisms of Agaricus blazei Murill on the growth of prostate cancer in vitro and in vivo.

Yu CH, Kan SF, Shu CH, Lu TJ, Sun-Hwang L, Wang PS.
J Nutr Biochem 2009 Oct;20(10):753-64

Agaricus blazei Murill (A. blazei) has been conventionally used as a health food for the prevention of cancer. However, little is known about the direct effects and action mechanisms of A. blazei on human prostate cancer. In the present study, the effects of A. blazei on the growth of human prostate cancer were examined in vitro and in vivo. A. blazei, especially the broth fraction, inhibited cell proliferation in both androgen-dependent and androgen-independent prostate cancer cell lines. The broth of A. blazei induced lactate dehydrogenase leakage in three cancer cell lines, whereas the activities of caspase 3 and the DNA fragmentation were enhanced the most in androgen-independent PC3 cells. The protein expressions of apoptosis-related molecules were elevated by the broth of A. blazei in PC3 cells. Oral supplementation with the broth of A. blazei (with the higher ratio of beta-glucan) significantly suppressed tumor growth without inducing adverse effects in severe combined immunodeficient mice with PC3 tumor xenograft. Tumor xenografts from A. blazei-fed mice showed decreased proliferating cell nuclear antigen-positive cells and reduced tumor microvessel density. Based on these results, we found that the broth of A. blazei may directly inhibit the growth of prostate cancer cell via an apoptotic pathway and suppress prostate tumor growth via antiproliferative and antiangiogenic mechanisms. We therefore suggest that A. blazei might have potential therapeutic use in the prevention and treatment of human prostate cancer

Effect of an extract based on the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei murill on release of cytokines, chemokines and leukocyte growth factors in human blood ex vivo and in vivo.

Johnson E, Forland DT, Saetre L, Bernardshaw SV, Lyberg T, Hetland G.
Scand J Immunol 2009 Mar;69(3):242-50

An immunostimulatory extract based on the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM) has been shown to stimulate mononuclear phagocytes in vitro to produce pro-inflammatory cytokines, and to protect against lethal peritonitis in mice. The present aim was to study the effect of AbM on release of several cytokines in human whole blood both after stimulation ex vivo and in vivo after oral intake over several days in healthy volunteers. The 17 signal substances examined were; T helper 1 (Th1) cytokines [interleukin (IL)-2, interferon (IFN)-gamma and IL-12], T helper 2 cytokines (IL-4, IL-5 and IL-13), pleiotropic (IL-7, IL-17), pro-inflammatory [IL-1beta, IL-6, tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha (mainly produced by Th1 cells)]--and anti-inflammatory (IL-10) cytokines, chemokines [IL-8, macrophage inhibitory protein (MIP)-1beta and monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1] and leukocyte growth factors [granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF), granulocyte/macrophage colony stimulating factor]. After stimulation of whole blood ex vivo with 0.5-5.0% of a mushroom extract, AndoSan mainly containing AbM, there was a dose-dependent increase in all the cytokines studied, ranging from two to 399-fold (TNF-alpha). However, in vivo in the eight volunteers who completed the daily intake (60 ml) of this AbM extract for 12 days, a significant reduction was observed in levels of IL-1beta (97%), TNF-alpha (84%), IL-17 (50%) and IL-2 (46%). Although not significant, there was a trend towards reduced levels for IL-8, IFN-gamma and G-CSF, whilst those of the remaining nine cytokines tested, were unaltered. The discrepant results on cytokine release ex vivo and in vivo may partly be explained by the antioxidant activity of AbM in vivo and limited absorption of its large, complex and bioactive beta-glucans across the intestinal mucosa to the reticuloendothelial system and blood

An extract of the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei Murill can protect against allergy.

Ellertsen LK, Hetland G.
Clin Mol Allergy 2009;7:6

Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM) is an edible Brazilian mushroom that has been used in traditional medicine for a range of diseases. It has been shown to have anti-infection and anti-tumor properties in the mouse, which are due to induction of Th1 responses. On the other hand, IgE-mediated allergy is induced by a Th2 response. OBJECTIVE: Since according to the Th1/Th2 paradigm an increased Th1 response may promote a reduced Th2 response, the aim was to examine whether AbM had anti-allergy effects. METHODS: A mouse model for allergy was employed, in which the mice were immunized s.c. with the model allergen ovalbumin (OVA). Additionally, the animals were given a mushroom extract, AndoSan, mainly (82%) containing AbM, but also Hericium erinaceum (15%) and Grifola frondosa (3%), or PBS p.o. either a day before or 19 days after the immunization. The mice were sacrificed on day 26, and anti-OVA IgE (Th2 response) and IgG2a (Th1 response) antibodies were examined in serum and Th1, Th2 and Treg cytokines in spleen cells cultures. RESULTS: It was found that the AndoSan extract both when given either before or after OVA immunization reduced the levels of anti-OVA IgE, but not IgG2a, in the mice. There was a tendency to reduced Th2 relative to Th1 cytokine levels in the AndoSan groups. CONCLUSION: This particular AbM extract may both prevent allergy development and be used as a therapeutical substance against established allergy