Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is a product prepared from the mycelium of edible Basidiomycete fungi that contains oligosaccharides. Here we have studied the antiinflammatory effect of AHCC in the trinitrobenzenesulfonic acid (TNBS) model of colitis in rats. Rats received AHCC (100 or 500 mg/kg) daily starting 2 d before (pretreatment) colitis induction and were killed 6 d after the TNBS challenge. The status of the rats was assessed by morphological and biochemical methods. The effect of AHCC on the colonic microflora was also assessed by studying the bacteria profile in feces by standard culture techniques. AHCC administration attenuated colonic inflammation, improving rat weight, food intake, damage score, extension of necrosis, colonic weight, colonic weight-to-length ratio, myeloperoxidase and alkaline phosphatase activities, glutathione concentration, and the expression of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines (IL-1beta, IL-1 receptor antagonist, TNF, and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1) and of mucins 2-4 and trefoil factor 3. The magnitude of the antiinflammatory effect of AHCC was similar to that of sulfasalazine (200 mg/kg). The study of colonic microflora indicated that rats treated with AHCC had higher aerobic and lactic acid bacteria counts as well as higher bifidobacteria counts, whereas clostridia were reduced when compared with the TNBS group. Therefore, our results indicate that AHCC is antiinflammatory and could be useful as a prebiotic to design functional foods for inflammatory bowel disease patients.