Immunomodulatory capacity of fungal proteins on the cytokine production of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells

P.V. Jeurink, C. Lull Noguera, H.F.J. Savelkoul, H.J. Wichers

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Immunomodulation by fungal compounds can be determined by the capacity of the compounds to influence the cytokine production by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (hPBMC). These activities include mitogenicity, stimulation and activation of immune effector cells. Eight mushroom strains (Agaricus blazei, Coprinus comatus, Flammulina velutipes, Ganoderma lucidum, Grifola frondosa, Volvariella volvacea, Lentinus edodes, and Pleurotus ostreatus) were tested for the immunomodulating activity of the isolated protein fractions and polysaccharides fractions present in mycelia and culture liquid. The fungal proteins and polysaccharides have been investigated for their in vitro effect on the cytokine profile (IFN-¿, IL-4, IL-10, IL-12 and TNF-) of unstimulated or hPBMC stimulated with the polyclonal stimulations PMA/Ca-I, ConA or LPS. In addition to their influence on the cytokine profile, the hemagglutination activity of the fungal proteins on rabbit red blood cells was determined. Proteins from V. volvacea and G. lucidum showed immunomodulating activity without the presence of any mitogen, however, neither of them decreased the production of IL-4 and IFN-¿ in combination with a stimulus. All used stimuli resulted in an induction of IL-12 in the presence of the protein extracts, suggesting a direct effect on monocytes. This effect might lead to the indirect immunomodulation of T cell activation and cytokine production. In addition, both protein extracts showed more hemagglutination activity after trypsin treatment of the rabbit red blood cells, indicating the presence of carbohydrate-binding proteins, like lectins and FIPs. In conclusion, the protein extracts of V. volvacea and G. lucidum contain immunomodulating activity by acting directly on monocytes and thereby modulating T cell activation. Further purification of the fungal extracts is needed to clarify whether there are FIPs or lectins present that are responsible for this immunomodulating activity.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1133
JournalInternational Immunopharmacology
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • nf-kappa-b
  • medicinal mushrooms
  • ganoderma-lucidum
  • in-vitro
  • volvariella-volvacea
  • edible mushroom
  • cancer-therapy
  • ling zhi-8
  • lectin
  • mycelia

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