Chemical Compositions and Macrophage Activation of Polysaccharides from Leon's Mane Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Higher Basidiomycetes) in Different Maturation Stages

Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(5):443-52. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i5.40.


We studied the effect of the maturation stage on the chemical compositions and macrophage activation activity of polysaccharides from the culinary-medicinal mushroom Hericium erinaceus. Results showed that total polysaccharides increased, whereas protein content decreased with the maturation stage development of fruiting body. Nine polysaccharide fractions, 3 from each of the maturity stages IV (small fungal spine stage), V (mid-fungal spine stage) and VI (mature), were prepared using the gradient ethanol precipitation method. The polysaccharide fraction HP4A isolated from the maturating-stage (stage IV) fruiting body had a significant difference from the fractions HP5A (stage V) and HP6A (stage VI) in the molecular weight distribution and monosaccharide compositions. Immunostimulating tests revealed that the polysaccharide fraction HP6 isolated from the mature stage (stage VI) fruiting body presented higher macrophage activation activity. Our findings provided important information for the harvest and use of H. erinaceus with higher qualities and functional benefits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Agaricales / growth & development
  • Animals
  • Fruiting Bodies, Fungal / chemistry*
  • Fruiting Bodies, Fungal / growth & development
  • Fungal Proteins / analysis
  • Fungal Proteins / metabolism
  • Macrophage Activation / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Weight
  • Monosaccharides / analysis
  • Monosaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Pharmacognosy
  • Polysaccharides / analysis
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • RAW 264.7 Cells


  • Fungal Proteins
  • Monosaccharides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Nitric Oxide