Background: Active hexose correlated compound (AHCC) (a mixture of polysaccharides, amino acids, lipids and minerals derived from cultured mycelia of a Basidiomycete mushroom, Lentinula edodes) was used to assess amelioration of alopecia (hair loss) caused by cytosine arabinoside (Ara-C) and modulation of liver injury caused by single doses 6-mercaptopurine (6-MP) plus methotrexate (MTX).
Methods: Follicular integrity and hair growth was assessed in male and female SD neonatal rats (8 days old) treated with a single dose of Ara-C (30 mg/kg/day, i.p.) and AHCC (500 mg/kg/day, p.o.) for 7 consecutive days. The side effects of a single oral dose of 6-MP (2.5mg/kg body weight) plus MTX (30 mg/kg body weight) and their amelioration by treatment with AHCC (1000 mg/kg body weight) for 28 days were assessed in male ddY mice (8 weeks old).
Results: Of the Ara-C treated rats 71.4% showed severe alopecia and 28.6% showed moderate alopecia. However, the AHCC (p.o.)-treated Ara-C group was significantly protected from alopecia. Ara-C treated rats had profound loss of hair follicles but the Ara-C plus AHCC-treated group had mild losses of follicles. AHCC supplementation to the 6-MP- and MTX-treated mice significantly increased body weight, erythrocytes, leukocytes and serum albumin, improved liver hypertrophy and degeneration, normalized the activities of serum glutamic oxaloacetic transaminase (sGOT) and serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase (sGPT), and enhanced liver drug-metabolizing enzymes.
Conclusion: Co-administration of AHCC significantly reduced the side effects associated with Ara-C, 6-MP and MTX. However, the molecular mechanism for AHCC activity and its clinical integrity for use needs defining.