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Potentiation of Cell-Mediated Host Defense Using Fruitbodies and Mycelia of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/InterJMedicMush.v5.i2.70
14 pages

Paul E. Stamets
University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, California; Fungi Perfecti P.O. Box 7634 Olympia, WA 98507, USA


Mushrooms have drawn the attention of researchers for their medicinal properties. The culturing of mushrooms presents opportunities and problems for the creation of products best suited for consumers, especially for those with immune deficits. Although polysaccharides have drawn the most attention of researchers in the past, other constituent groups, including glycoproteins and ergosterols, promote immune responses. Additionally, the culturing of mycelium on rice creates a novel constituent family—arabinoxylanes. Arabinoxylanes are formed from the fermentation effects from mycelium on the rice carrier. Yield efficiencies of polysaccharides, glycoproteins, ergosterols, and arabinoxylanes vary according to the species utilized, and are qualitatively different in how they influence immunomodulatory responses. This study compares the effects of 7 higher Basidiomycetes species, individually and in concert, on mouse macrophages and natural killer (NK) activity from human spleen cells when co-cultured with cancer cells and exposed to extracted fractions of these medicinal mushrooms.