Preferential induction of Th17 cells in vitro and in vivo by Fucogalactan from Ganoderma lucidum (Reishi)

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2012 May 25;422(1):174-80. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2012.04.135. Epub 2012 May 1.


The mushroom known as Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) has been used as an herbal medicine for tumor treatment and immune system activation. Because its effects on the differentiation of effector T helper cells have not yet been fully understood, we investigated the effects of Reishi and those of its principal ingredient, β-glucan, on the activation of dendritic cells and the differentiation of Th17 cells. Reishi extracts as well as purified β-glucan (Curdran) activated DCs and caused them to produce large amounts of IL-23. β-glucan also enhanced and sustained the transcription of IL-23p19. The MEK-ERK signaling pathway positively regulates IL-23p19 transcription in β-glucan-stimulated DCs. In a mixed leukocyte reaction, Reishi-stimulated DCs preferentially induced Th17 cells. Furthermore, orally-administrated Reishi increased the percentages of Th17 cells and the transcription levels of antimicrobial peptides. Our results show that Reishi and β-glucan activate DCs to produce large amounts of IL-23, which induces Th17 differentiation both in vitro and in vivo.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides / genetics
  • Dendritic Cells / drug effects*
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology
  • Galactans / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-12 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-23 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-23 Subunit p19 / genetics
  • Lymphocyte Activation / drug effects*
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Reishi / chemistry*
  • Th17 Cells / drug effects*
  • Th17 Cells / immunology
  • Transcription, Genetic / drug effects
  • beta-Glucans / pharmacology*


  • Antimicrobial Cationic Peptides
  • Galactans
  • Interleukin-23
  • Interleukin-23 Subunit p19
  • beta-Glucans
  • Interleukin-12
  • curdlan
  • fucogalactan