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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 May 25;422(1):174-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.04.135. Epub 2012 May 1.

Preferential induction of Th17 cells in vitro and in vivo by Fucogalactan from Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi).

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Keio University School of Medicine, 35 Shinanomachi, Tokyo 160-8582, Japan.


The mushroom known as Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) has been used as an herbal medicine for tumor treatment and immune system activation. Because its effects on the differentiation of effector T helper cells have not yet been fully understood, we investigated the effects of Reishi and those of its principal ingredient, β-glucan, on the activation of dendritic cells and the differentiation of Th17 cells. Reishi extracts as well as purified β-glucan (Curdran) activated DCs and caused them to produce large amounts of IL-23. β-glucan also enhanced and sustained the transcription of IL-23p19. The MEK-ERK signaling pathway positively regulates IL-23p19 transcription in β-glucan-stimulated DCs. In a mixed leukocyte reaction, Reishi-stimulated DCs preferentially induced Th17 cells. Furthermore, orally-administrated Reishi increased the percentages of Th17 cells and the transcription levels of antimicrobial peptides. Our results show that Reishi and β-glucan activate DCs to produce large amounts of IL-23, which induces Th17 differentiation both in vitro and in vivo.

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