Objective: Mushroom extracts are known to have immunomodulating and antitumor effects in humans as well as in animals. In the present study Active Hexose Correlated Compound (AHCC), an extract obtained from several kinds of basidiomycetes was examined for its suppressive effect on thymocyte apoptosis induced by dexamethasone.
Method: Thymic apoptosis was evaluated by gel electrophoresis and by flow cytometry at 3 h after injection of dexamethasone to rats.
Results: When given to rats at 4 % concentration in drinking water for more than 4 days, AHCC suppressed the internucleosomal DNA fragmentation in the thymus induced by dexamethasone. Flow cytometry also revealed that thymic apoptosis induced by dexamethasone was prevented by pretreatment with AHCC. Dexamethasone increased the caspase 3-like activity within 3 h after its treatment and AHCC pretreatment suppressed the increased enzyme activity only slightly. No apparent increase in serum levels of melatonin and interleukin 1beta was observed after AHCC treatment.
Conclusions: These results suggest that AHCC exhibits immuno-modulating effects at least partially by regulating thymic apoptosis.