Two basidiomycete species, Lentinus edodes mycelia (LEM) and Cordyceps sinensis (CS) were examined for induction of cytokines in murine macrophage cell line R309 (R309) and T cell line LBRM-33 1A5 (1A5). When lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-activated R309 were exposed to the extracts of basidiomycetes, R309 induced significant levels of interleukin 1 (IL-1). Interleukin 2 (IL-2) induction was recognized in 1A5 cultures in the presence of IL-1 and phytohemagglutinin (PHA). However, no enhancement of IL-2 production by these basidiomycetes was discerned in 1A5 cultures with IL-1 and PHA, i.e., direct action of basidiomycetes was not found on IL-2 production of 1A5. PHA-stimulated 1A5 exposed to basidiomycetes induced IL-2 without IL-1 when co-cultured with LPS-activated R309 as a source of IL-1. Effects of basidiomycetes on IL-2 production in 1A5 seemed to be caused through their action on macrophages. The induction of IL-2, Th1 type cytokine in T lymphocyte, is a significant finding since basidiomycetes, taken as a dietary supplement for immuno-suppressed patients, especially cancer patients, would be helpful in improving their immune activity against cancer.
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