Background: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a leading cause of mortality in the United States as well as globally. Epidemiological studies show that regular fruit and vegetable consumption reduces CVD risk, in part, due to antioxidant activity and immunomodulation since oxidative stress and inflammation are features of atherogenesis. Accumulating evidence also shows that dietary fungi, viz., mushrooms, can protect against chronic disease by altering inflammatory environments such as those associated with CVD although most research has focused on specialty mushrooms. In this study, we tested the ability of both common and specialty mushrooms to inhibit cellular processes associated with CVD.
Methods: Human aortic endothelial cells (HAEC) were incubated overnight with control media with dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) vehicle (1% v/v) or containing DMSO extracts of whole dehydrated mushrooms (0.1 mg/mL), which included Agaricus bisporus (white button and crimini), Lentinula edodes (shiitake), Pleurotus ostreatus (oyster), and Grifola frondosa (maitake). Monolayers were subsequently washed and incubated with medium alone or containing the pro-inflammatory cytokine IL-1beta (5 ng/mL) for 6 h to upregulate pro-atherosclerotic adhesion molecules (AM). AM expression was assayed by ELISA and binding of U937 human monocytes pre-loaded with fluorescent dye was determined.
Results: White button mushrooms consistently reduced (p < 0.05) VCAM-1, ICAM-1, and E-selectin-1 expression, whereas other test mushrooms significantly modulated AM expression singly, collectively, or combinatorially. All mushrooms, however, significantly reduced binding of monocytes to both quiescent and cytokine-stimulated monolayers.
Conclusion: These data provide evidence that dietary mushrooms can inhibit cellular processes such as adhesion molecule expression and ultimate binding of monocytes to the endothelium under pro-inflammatory conditions, which are associated with CVD. As a result, these findings support the notion that dietary mushrooms can be protective against CVD.