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International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms
CiteScore™: 1.38 IF: 1.211 5-Year IF: 1.394 SNIP: 0.661 SJR: 0.433

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

International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms

DOI: 10.1615/InterJMedicMush.v5.i2.20
22 pages

Hepatoprotective Activity and the Mechanisms of Action of Ganoderma lucidum (Curt.:Fr.) P. Karst. (Ling Zhi, Reishi Mushroom) (Aphyllophoromycetideae) (Review)

Yihuai Gao
Institute of Food, Nutrition and Human Health, Massey University; Landcare Research, Private Bag 92170, Auckland, New Zealand
Min Huang
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Zhongshan (Sun Yat-Sen) University, Guangzhou, R.P. China
Zhi-Bin Lin
Department of Pharmacology, School of Basic Medical Sciences, Beijing University, Beijing 100083, P. R. China
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

ABSTRACT

Herbal medicines are always considered to be a safe and useful approach for the treatment of chronic hepatopathy. Ganoderma luciudm (Curt.:Fr.) P. Karst. [(Ling Zhi, Reishi mushroom) (Aphyllophoromycetideae)], a highly ranked medicinal mushroom in Oriental traditional medicine, has been widely used for the treatment of chronic hepatopathy of various etiologies. Data from in vitro and animal studies indicate that G. lucidum extracts (mainly polysaccharides or triterpenoids) exhibit protective activities against liver injury induced by toxic chemicals (e.g., CCl4) and Bacillus Calmette-Guerin (BCG) plus lipopolysaccharide (LPS). G. lucidum also showed anti–hepatitis B virus (HBV) activity in a duckling study. Recently, a randomized placebo-controlled clinical study showed that treatment with G. lucidum polysaccharides for 12 weeks reduced hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and HBV DNA in 25% (13/52) patients with HBV infection. The mechanisms of the hepatoprotective effects of G. lucidum have been largely undefined. However, accumulating evidence suggests several possible mechanisms. These include antioxidant and radical-scavenging activity, modulation of hepatic Phase I and II enzymes, inhibition of b-glucuronidase, antifibrotic and antiviral activity, modulation of nitric oxide production, maintenance of hepatocellular calcium homeostasis, and immunomodulating effects. G. lucidum could represent a promising approach for the management of various chronic hepatopathies. Further studies are needed to explore the kinetics and mechanisms of action of G. lucidum constituents with hepatoprotective activities.