Oral administration of active hexose correlated compound enhances host resistance to West Nile encephalitis in mice

J Nutr. 2009 Mar;139(3):598-602. doi: 10.3945/jn.108.100297. Epub 2009 Jan 13.


West Nile virus (WNV) poses a serious threat to public health, especially to the elderly and the immuno-compromised. Neither vaccines nor treatments are available for humans. Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) is an extract of Lentinula edodes of the Basidiomycete family of fungi rich in alpha-glucans. In this study, we evaluated the effect of AHCC on host susceptibility in the murine model of WNV infection. Mice orally administered with AHCC (600 mg/kg) every other day for 1 wk before and at d 1 and 3 postinfection were assessed using viremia levels, survival rate, and protective immunity. AHCC administration in young (6- to 8-wk-old) mice attenuated viremia and mortality following lethal WNV infection. WNV-specific IgM and IgG production and gammadelta T cell expansion were also enhanced in these mice. Aged (21- to 22-mo-old) mice were more susceptible to WNV infection than young mice, partially due to the dysfunction of gammadelta T cell subsets. AHCC administration in aged mice enhanced the protective Vgamma1(+) T cell response as well as WNV-specific IgG but not IgM antibodies production. AHCC administration in aged mice attenuated viremia levels but led to no difference in mortality rate. Overall, our data suggests that AHCC enhances protective host immune responses against WNV infection in young and aged mice. Dietary supplementation with AHCC may be potentially immunotherapeutic for WNV-susceptible populations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Administration, Oral
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Female
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Polysaccharides / administration & dosage*
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Shiitake Mushrooms / chemistry
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • West Nile Fever / immunology*
  • West Nile Fever / prevention & control


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Polysaccharides
  • Active Hexose Correlated Compound