New Treatment Using Mushroom Extract Helps Fight Infection

Greg Howard
15th March, 2024

New Treatment Using Mushroom Extract Helps Fight Infection

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • In a Chongqing study, G. PS from mushrooms improved survival in septic mice
  • G. PS reduced harmful inflammation and increased beneficial immune cells
  • The treatment also helped clear infection and protected organs from damage
Sepsis is a severe medical condition where the body's response to infection causes injury to its own tissues and organs. It can lead to shock, multiple organ failure, and even death if not promptly and effectively treated. In the search for better treatments, scientists have turned their attention to natural products with fewer side effects than conventional drugs. One such product is Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharides (G. PS), which are extracted from a type of medicinal mushroom. Researchers from Chongqing Three Gorges Medical College have recently conducted a study[1] investigating the effects of G. PS in a laboratory model of sepsis. Their findings suggest that G. PS can significantly improve survival rates in septic mice by modulating the body's immune response, reducing the bacterial load, and protecting against organ damage. In the study, mice were subjected to a common experimental procedure for inducing sepsis called cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). This procedure mimics the human condition of sepsis by allowing bacteria to leak into the abdomen, leading to infection and inflammation. The mice were then treated with G. PS and compared to control groups that received a simple saline solution (PBS). The results were promising. Mice treated with G. PS had a higher survival rate than those in the control group. The researchers observed that G. PS was able to regulate levels of inflammatory cytokines, which are signaling molecules that can either trigger or reduce inflammation. Specifically, G. PS reduced pro-inflammatory cytokines like TNF-α, IL-17A, and IL-6, while increasing levels of IL-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine. Furthermore, G. PS promoted the differentiation of a type of immune cell known as regulatory T cells (Tregs), which play a role in suppressing excessive immune responses and maintaining immune system balance. This finding is particularly interesting in light of previous research[2] that highlighted the complex role of Tregs in sepsis, where they can be both beneficial and detrimental depending on the context. The study also showed that G. PS reduced the bacterial load in the mice, suggesting it might help the body clear the infection more effectively. Additionally, it mitigated organ damage and suppressed the activation of the NF-κB pathway, which is known to play a role in the inflammatory response and is often activated in sepsis. To further understand the mechanism behind G. PS's effects, the researchers looked at macrophages, immune cells that are crucial in fighting infections. By pretreating some mice with chlorphosphon-liposome, which depletes macrophages, they found that the absence of these cells led to worse outcomes in sepsis, emphasizing the importance of macrophages in the body's response to infection and the action of G. PS. The study adds to a growing body of evidence[3][4] suggesting that natural products like G. PS have potential in cancer and immune-related therapies. Earlier work has shown that Ganoderma polysaccharides can help regulate the body's immune responses and may be effective as chemopreventive agents against cancer by affecting cell proliferation and death, as well as improving host immunity and the gut microbiota. This latest research expands on these findings by demonstrating the potential use of G. PS in treating sepsis. It suggests that G. PS could be a valuable tool in modulating the immune system's response to sepsis, thereby reducing the severity of the condition and improving chances of survival. While further studies are needed to confirm these findings in humans, this study offers hope for new treatments that harness the power of natural products to combat serious conditions like sepsis.



Main Study

1) Novel therapeutic role of Ganoderma Polysaccharides in a septic mouse model - The key role of macrophages.

Published 15th March, 2024

Related Studies

2) Regulatory T Cells: Angels or Demons in the Pathophysiology of Sepsis?

3) Research Progress on the Anticancer Activities and Mechanisms of Polysaccharides From Ganoderma.

4) Extraction, Structural Characterization, and Immunomodulatory Activity of a High Molecular Weight Polysaccharide From Ganoderma lucidum.

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