Significant Correlation between TLR2 Agonist Activity and TNF-α Induction in J774.A1 Macrophage Cells by Different Medicinal Mushroom Products

Int J Med Mushrooms. 2015;17(8):713-22. doi: 10.1615/intjmedmushrooms.v17.i8.20.


In the US market, there is a variety of mushroom preparations available, even within the same species of mushroom. Nonetheless, little is known about whether species or the various extraction methods affect biological activity and potency of the immune modulatory activity of mushroom extracts. After discovering that protein-bound polysaccharide-K, a hot water extract from Trametes versicolor, was a potent Toll-like receptor (TLR)-2 agonist that stimulates both innate and adaptive immunity, this study was initiated to evaluate whether other medicinal mushroom products also have TLR2 agonist activity and immune-enhancing potential as measured by the induction of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α in J774.A1 murine macrophage cells. Furthermore, the products were divided by extraction method and species to determine whether these factors affect their immunomodulatory activity. The results showed that the majority (75%) of mushroom products tested had TLR2 agonist activity and that there was a significant correlation between TLR2 agonist activity and TNF-α induction potential in the mushroom products analyzed. In addition, the data demonstrated that hot water mushroom extracts are more potent than ground mushroom products in activating TLR2 and inducing TNF-α. These data provide evidence that extraction methods may affect the biological activity of mushroom products; thus, further studies are warranted to investigate the structural differences between various mushroom products.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / isolation & purification
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology
  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • HEK293 Cells
  • Humans
  • Macrophages / drug effects
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / agonists*
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2 / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • TLR2 protein, human
  • Toll-Like Receptor 2
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha