Background: Agaricus blazei Murill (AbM) is an edible Brazilian mushroom that has been used in traditional medicine for a range of diseases. It has been shown to have anti-infection and anti-tumor properties in the mouse, which are due to induction of Th1 responses. On the other hand, IgE-mediated allergy is induced by a Th2 response.
Objective: Since according to the Th1/Th2 paradigm an increased Th1 response may promote a reduced Th2 response, the aim was to examine whether AbM had anti-allergy effects.
Methods: A mouse model for allergy was employed, in which the mice were immunized s.c. with the model allergen ovalbumin (OVA). Additionally, the animals were given a mushroom extract, AndoSan, mainly (82%) containing AbM, but also Hericium erinaceum (15%) and Grifola frondosa (3%), or PBS p.o. either a day before or 19 days after the immunization. The mice were sacrificed on day 26, and anti-OVA IgE (Th2 response) and IgG2a (Th1 response) antibodies were examined in serum and Th1, Th2 and Treg cytokines in spleen cells cultures.
Results: It was found that the AndoSan extract both when given either before or after OVA immunization reduced the levels of anti-OVA IgE, but not IgG2a, in the mice. There was a tendency to reduced Th2 relative to Th1 cytokine levels in the AndoSan groups.
Conclusion: This particular AbM extract may both prevent allergy development and be used as a therapeutical substance against established allergy.