Natural products of the medicinal fungus Ganoderma lucidum: occurrence, biological activities, and pharmacological functions

Chem Rec. 2003;3(3):172-80. doi: 10.1002/tcr.10058.


Ganoderma lucidum, a fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine, produces polysaccharides and oxygenated triterpenoids with a very broad spectrum of biological activities and pharmacological functions. Among the Ganoderma triterpenoids, many pairs of C-3 alpha/beta stereoisomers and C-3/C-15 positional isomers have been identified. Biosynthetic study has indicated that the C-3alpha series of oxygenated triterpenoids is derived from the C-3beta series via an oxidation-reduction pathway. The interaction of Ganoderma triterpenoids with human platelets in the induction of aggregation and inhibition of agonist-induced aggregation and signal transduction has been elucidated. Reduction of cellular mevalonate content to a stage in which cholesterol synthesis is strongly inhibited and cell growth is marginally arrested sensitizes hepatoma cells to the oxygenated triterpenoids. A combination treatment of lovastatin and Ganoderma triterpenoids in animal studies has exhibited a potential anticancer effect.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemistry
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Ganoderma / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Platelet Aggregation / drug effects
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / metabolism
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship
  • Triterpenes / chemistry
  • Triterpenes / metabolism
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology*
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Polysaccharides
  • Triterpenes