Beta-glucan extracted from the medicinal mushroom Agaricus blazei prevents the genotoxic effects of benzo[a]pyrene in the human hepatoma cell line HepG2

Arch Toxicol. 2009 Jan;83(1):81-6. doi: 10.1007/s00204-008-0319-5. Epub 2008 Jun 5.


The mushroom Agaricus blazei is studied for its nutraceutical potential and as a medicinal supplement. The aim of the present study was to investigate the chemoprotective effect of beta-glucan extracted from the mushroom A. blazei against DNA damage induced by benzo[a]pyrene (B[a]P), using the comet assay (genotoxicity) and micronucleus assay with cytokinesis block (mutagenicity) in a human hepatoma cell line (HepG2). To elucidate the possible beta-glucan mechanism of action, desmutagenesis or bioantimutagenesis types, three treatment protocols were tested: simultaneous, pre-treatment, and presimultaneous. The results showed that beta-glucan does not exert genotoxic or mutagenic effect, but that it does protect against DNA damage caused by B[a]P in every protocol tested. The data suggest that beta-glucan acts through binding to B[a]P or the capture of free radicals produced during its activation. On the other hand, the pre-treatment results also suggest the possibility that beta-glucan modulates cell metabolism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agaricus / chemistry*
  • Antimutagenic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Antimutagenic Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antimutagenic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzo(a)pyrene / toxicity
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Comet Assay
  • DNA Damage / drug effects
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Free Radical Scavengers / isolation & purification
  • Free Radical Scavengers / pharmacology
  • Free Radicals / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Micronucleus Tests
  • Mutagens / toxicity
  • beta-Glucans / administration & dosage
  • beta-Glucans / isolation & purification
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology*


  • Antimutagenic Agents
  • Free Radical Scavengers
  • Free Radicals
  • Mutagens
  • beta-Glucans
  • Benzo(a)pyrene