Dietary Supplementation of Hericium erinaceus Increases Mossy Fiber-CA3 Hippocampal Neurotransmission and Recognition Memory in Wild-Type Mice

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2017;2017:3864340. doi: 10.1155/2017/3864340. Epub 2017 Jan 1.

Abstract

Hericium erinaceus (Bull.) Pers. is a medicinal mushroom capable of inducing a large number of modulatory effects on human physiology ranging from the strengthening of the immune system to the improvement of cognitive functions. In mice, dietary supplementation with H. erinaceus prevents the impairment of spatial short-term and visual recognition memory in an Alzheimer model. Intriguingly other neurobiological effects have recently been reported like the effect on neurite outgrowth and differentiation in PC12 cells. Until now no investigations have been conducted to assess the impact of this dietary supplementation on brain function in healthy subjects. Therefore, we have faced the problem by considering the effect on cognitive skills and on hippocampal neurotransmission in wild-type mice. In wild-type mice the oral supplementation with H. erinaceus induces, in behaviour test, a significant improvement in the recognition memory and, in hippocampal slices, an increase in spontaneous and evoked excitatory synaptic current in mossy fiber-CA3 synapse. In conclusion, we have produced a series of findings in support of the concept that H. erinaceus induces a boost effect onto neuronal functions also in nonpathological conditions.