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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

Impact factor: 1.357

ISSN Print: 1521-9437
ISSN Online: 1940-4344

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/IntJMedMushr.v4.i1.10
11 pages

The Immunomodulating Effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Curt.: Fr.) P. Karst. (Ling Zhi, Reishi Mushroom) (Aphyllophoromycetideae)

Yihuai Gao
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University; Landcare Research, Private Bag 92170, Auckland, New Zealand
Shufeng Zhou
Division of Pharmacy, School of Life Sciences, Faculty of Science, Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore; University of South Florida FL 33612, USA


This review highlights the recent research progress in the study of immunomodulating effects of Ganoderma lucidum (Curt.: Fr.) P. Karst. (reishi. mushroom), which belongs to the higher Basidiomycetes. Several major substances with potent immunomodulating action have been isolated. These include polysaccharides (in particular b-D-glucans), proteins, and triterpenoids. The major immunomodulating effects of these active substances derived from G. lucidum include mitogenicity and activation of immune effector cells, such as Т cells, macrophages, and natural killer cells, resulting in the production of cytokines, including interleukins, tumor necrosis factor-d, and interferons. There is evidence indicating that b-D-glucans from medicinal mushrooms induce biological response by binding to membrane complement receptor type 3 (CR3, aMb2 integrin, or CD11b/CD18) on immune effector cells. The ligand-receptor complex can be internalized and activate nuclear factor NF-kВ. Immunosuppressive effects of G. lucidum components have also been observed. The therapeutic effects of G. lucidum, such as anticancer and antiinflammatory actions, have been associated with its immunomodulating effects. However, further studies are needed to determine the molecular mechanisms of the immunomodulating effects of G. lucidum.