Shiitake Culinary-Medicinal Mushroom, Lentinus edodes (Agaricomycetes): A Species with Antioxidant, Immunomodulatory, and Hepatoprotective Activities in Hypercholesterolemic Rats

Int J Med Mushrooms. 2017;19(11):981-990. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2017024504.


Lentinus edodes is a culinary-medicinal mushroom that has an established history of use in Asian therapies. The mushroom offers well-documented beneficial health effects such as antihypercholesterolemic, antitumor, and antibacterial activities. In this study, dried powder of L. edodes fruiting bodies was used to evaluate immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, and antioxidant effects in hypercholesterolemic rats. Albino rats (n = 24) were divided into 3 groups: the control (CON) group, the hypercholesterolemia-only group (HCG), and the L. edodes group (LEG). Hypercholesterolemia was induced in rats in the HCG and LEG by feeding cholesterol and cholic acid in a chow maintenance diet (CMD) for 24 days. The CON group was fed the CMD throughout the experiment. The HCG continued on the high-cholesterol diet without any L. edodes supplement. The LEG was fed the high-cholesterol diet supplemented with L. edodes for an additional 42 days. Various biological health biomarkers, such as total antioxidant capacity, total oxidant status, arylesterase, paraoxonase activity, and liver enzymes in serum were studied to evaluate antioxidant and hepatoprotective responses. Cell-mediated immunity was evaluated in each group through a delayed type of hypersensitivity reaction. The total oxidant status decreased significantly (P ≤ 0.05) after administration of L. edodes in the diet. The cell-mediated immune response significantly increased (P ≤ 0.05) in the LEG. The significant decrease in liver enzymes supports the hepatoprotective effect of L. edodes. In conclusion, the results show the immunomodulatory, hepatoprotective, and antioxidant activities of L. edodes supplementation in hypercholesterolemic rats.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / administration & dosage*
  • Diet / methods*
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Enzymes / blood
  • Gastrointestinal Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / therapy*
  • Immunity, Cellular
  • Immunoassay
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage*
  • Liver Function Tests
  • Oxidants / blood
  • Rats
  • Shiitake Mushrooms / chemistry*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antioxidants
  • Enzymes
  • Gastrointestinal Agents
  • Immunologic Factors
  • Oxidants