Background: The differentiation resp. death of human monocytic THP-1 cells induced by polysaccharide extracts of the medicinal mushrooms Phellinus linteus, Agaricus bisporus and Agaricus brasiliensis have been studied. This study aims to identify leads for the causal effects of these mushroom components on cell differentiation and death. Methods: THP-1 cells were treated with different polysaccharide extracts of mushrooms and controls. Morphological effects were observed by light microscopy. Flow cytometry was applied to follow the cell differentiation by cell cycle shifts after staining with propidium iodide, changes of mitochondrial membrane potential after incubation with JC-1, and occurrence of intracellular reactive oxygen species after incubation with hydroethidine. Principal component analysis of the data was performed to evaluate the cellular effects of the different treatments. Results: P. linteus polysaccharide extracts induced dose-dependent apoptosis of THP-1 cells within 24 h, while A. bisporus and A. brasiliensis polysaccharide extracts caused differentiation into macrophages. A pure P. linteus polysaccharide had no effect. Apoptosis was inhibited by preincubating THP-1 cells with human serum. The principal component analysis revealed that P. linteus, A. bisporus and A. brasiliensis polysaccharide extracts increased reactive oxygen species production. Both A. bisporus and A. brasiliensis polysaccharide extracts decreased the mitochondrial membrane potential, while this was increased by P. linteus polysaccharide extracts. Conclusions: P. linteus polysaccharide extracts caused apoptosis of THP-1 monocytes while A. bisporus and A. brasiliensis polysaccharide extracts caused these cells to differentiate into macrophages. The protective effects of human serum suggested that P. linteus polysaccharide extract induced apoptosis by extrinsic pathway, i.e. by binding to the TRAIL receptor. The mitochondrial membrane potential together with reactive oxygen species seems to play an important role in cell differentiation and cell death.
- trail-induced apoptosis