Reishi mushroom Ganoderma lucidum Modulates IgA production and alpha-defensin expression in the rat small intestine

J Ethnopharmacol. 2018 Mar 25;214:240-243. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2017.12.010. Epub 2017 Dec 14.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Immunoglobulin A (IgA) secretion and alpha-defensins play a role in the innate immune system to protect against infection. Ganoderma lucidum (W.Curt.: Fr.) P. Karst. (Reishi) is a well-known mushroom in traditional Chinese medicine. This study aimed to determine the effects of Reishi on IgA secretion from Peyer's patch (PP) cells and alpha-defensin-5 (RD-5) and RD-6 expression in the rat small intestine.

Materials and methods: The rats received an oral injection of 0.5-5mg/kg of Reishi powder (1mL/kg) by sonde. All animals were euthanized 24h after Reishi administration. We examined RD-5, RD-6, and Toll-like receptor (TLR) 4 mRNA levels in the jejunum, ileum, and in Peyer's patches (PP) through quantitative real-time PCR analysis. IgA secretion from PP was measured through enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of the supernatant after primary culture.

Results: Reishi increased IgA secretion in the presence of lipopolysaccharide (LPS) and increased TLR4 mRNA levels, but had no effect on the viability of PP cells. Moreover, Reishi increased RD-5, RD-6, and TLR4 mRNA levels significantly in the ileum in a concentration-dependent manner.

Conclusions: Reishi can induce IgA secretion and increase the mRNA levels of RD-5 and RD-6 in the rat small intestine, through a TLR4-dependent pathway. The present results indicate that Reishi might reduce the risk of intestinal infection.

Keywords: 2.340: ileum; 2.384: lymphocyte; 2.580: traditional Chinese medicine.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ileum / drug effects*
  • Ileum / immunology
  • Ileum / metabolism
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / immunology
  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory / metabolism*
  • Immunologic Factors / isolation & purification
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Jejunum / drug effects*
  • Jejunum / immunology
  • Jejunum / metabolism
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Peyer's Patches / drug effects*
  • Peyer's Patches / immunology
  • Peyer's Patches / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reishi* / chemistry
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / immunology
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4 / metabolism
  • Up-Regulation
  • alpha-Defensins / genetics
  • alpha-Defensins / immunology
  • alpha-Defensins / metabolism*


  • Immunoglobulin A, Secretory
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Tlr4 protein, rat
  • Toll-Like Receptor 4
  • alpha-Defensins