The Journal of Immunology on Reishi

Despite the considerable amount of time spent designing our new website HERE, I’m still tirelessly gathering credible research on Reishi to continuously post onto my blog. Why? So all my readers out there don’t have to. I know most of us are busy people…(or busy doing nothing? haha) Here’s another great site form the American Association of Immunologists, and an extract from the full text:

(Read the full test HERE)

The Journal of Immunology, 2004, 173: 5989-5999.
Copyright © 2004 by The American Association of Immunologists

Extract of Reishi Polysaccharides Induces Cytokine Expression via TLR4-Modulated Protein Kinase Signaling Pathways1

Hsien-Yeh Hsu2,*, Kuo-Feng Hua*, Chun-Cheng Lin,‡, Chun-Hung Lin, Jason Hsu and Chi-Huey Wong,‡,||
* Faculty of Medical Technology, Institute of Biotechnology in Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan; Genomics Research Center, Institute of Chemistry, and § Institute of Biological Chemistry, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan; Stuyvesant School, New York, NY 10282; and || Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA 92037


We have demonstrated that an extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi or Ling-Zhi) polysaccharides (EORP) exerts immunomodulating activities by stimulating the expression of inflammatory cytokines from mouse spleen cells. Interestingly, via responding to LPS in genetic variation of murine macrophage HeNC2 and GG2EE cell lines, and using TLR4 Ab blockage in human blood-derived monocytic macrophages, we have found that the TLR4, but not complement receptor type 3, is a putative receptor of EORP, mediating the consequent immunomodulating events associated with IL-1 gene expression. Based on our studies of reactive oxygen species production, polymyxin B inhibition, and protein tyrosine kinase (PTK) activity, we ruled out the possibility of LPS contamination in EORP. We have found that EORP differentially modulates the protein kinase (PK)-mediated signal transduction pathways associated with inflammatory cytokine IL-1. In human macrophages and murine macrophage J774A.1 cells, EORP was found to up-regulate IL-1 secretion and pro-IL-1 (precursor of IL-1) as well as IL-1-converting enzyme expression. Specifically, EORP rapidly stimulates PTK-mediated phosphorylation, followed by induction of PKs and activation of MAPKs: ERK, JNK, and p38. Using PK inhibitors in the kinase activity assays, Western blot analyses and IL-1 ELISA, we have extensively examined and dissected the role of individual PK in the regulation of pro-IL-1/IL-1. Our findings establish that EORP-mediated signaling pathways are involved in the pro-IL-1/IL-1 regulation: PTK/protein kinase C/MEK1/ERK and PTK/Rac1/p21-activated kinase/p38.


In the oldest Chinese medical text, “Shen-Nong Ben Cao Jin,” Ganoderma species (a group of medical fungus) is recorded as the king of herbs. Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi or Ling-Zhi) has been used as traditional Chinese medicine for promoting good health, perpetual youth, vitality, and longevity (1, 2, 3). In the animal studies, the crude or partially purified polysaccharides (PS)3 of G. lucidum were reported to exhibit antitumor activity as well as reduce tumor metastasis (4, 5, 6, 7, 8). The active constituents responsible for the antitumor and immunomodulating activities have been qualitatively described and the structure has been partially determined (9), but the molecular mechanisms of their actions have not been clearly elucidated.

The role of PS in stimulation of certain cells has been examined and discussed, although the results were diverse. The antitumor effect of PS on human myeloid leukemia cell lines, HL-60 and U937, has been studied (6), and the results support PS-mediated induction of IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α from activated macrophages, and IFN-γ from activated T lymphocytes. Our previous finding showed that a glycoprotein fraction, isolated from water-soluble Reishi, could stimulate spleen cell proliferation and expression of cytokines, including IL-1, IL-2, and IFN-γ (1). The composition of this glycoprotein fraction has been determined, and the presence of fucose has been confirmed to be important for the activities (1).

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