Objective: To explore the effectiveness of the traditional Chinese herbal medicine Lingzhi (Ganoderma lucidum) preparation in treating simian acquired immune deficiency syndrome (SAIDS).
Methods: Five female adult Chinese rhesus monkeys were inoculated rectally with SIVmac239, and were all diagnosed as SAIDS by laboratory and clinical examinations 17 months later. Of these 5 monkeys, 3 (#393, #374, and #381; treatment group) were orally administered with Ganoderma lucidum (2 spores powder capsules plus 2 spores oil capsules on a daily basis), and the remaining other two monkeys (#348 and #361) served as control and did not receive treatment.
Results: Animal #393 (treatment group), #361 (control group) and #348 (control group) died of SAIDS (opportunity infection) 3.5 months, 6 months, and 11 months later, respectively. Two animals (#374 and #381) survived. The necropsy revealed depletion and/or exhaustion of their lymphoid tissue. In the monkey #374, the peripheral CD4(+) T lymphocyte increased by 30% in the 6(th) month compared with the baseline level and then fluctuated. The plasma viral load gradually fell and reached about 1 log(10) in the treatment group, but remained stable in the control group. As shown by pathological examinations, the lymph node and spleen of monkeys #374 (treatment group) and #381 (treatment group) showed rehabilitation and reconstruction in the lymphatic tissue, thymus, nerve tissue of gyrus hippocampi, pituitary gland, pineal body, thyroid gland, adrenal gland, and ovary. In the control group, however, animals experienced depletion of lymph nodes, atrophy of spleen, disappearance of thymus, and other disorders in endocrine organs.
Conclusion: Ganoderma lucidum preparation may have certain protective effect on the immune system, nervous system, and endocrine system of monkeys with SAIDS.