A Polysaccharide Isolated from Mycelia of the Lion's Mane Medicinal Mushroom Hericium erinaceus (Agaricomycetes) Induced Apoptosis in Precancerous Human Gastric Cells

Int J Med Mushrooms. 2017;19(12):1053-1060. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2017024975.


Hericium erinaceus is typically used in traditional Chinese medicine for mucosal protection, healing of gastric ulcers, and treatment of gastritis. We purified from the cultured mycelia of H. erinaceus a polysaccharide with anti-gastric ulcer and antigastritis activity, but its effects on gastric malignancy have not been elucidated. We examined the differential effects of this purified polysaccharide, named EP-1, on the human gastric (GES-1) cell line and a precancerous cell line (MC) that was transformed from GES-1 using N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine. We observed that the polysaccharide potently induced cell apoptosis and cell cycle arrest at the G0/G1 phase in the MC cell line but did not have any effect on the GES-1 cell line at the same doses. Further mechanistic studies revealed that the polysaccharide exerted its activity through an apoptosis-associated pathway by modulating the expression of Bax, Bcl-2, and caspase-3. Differential effects of the polysaccharide on the GES-1 and MC cell lines indicate that the polysaccharide was effective in preventing gastric cancer progression.

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales / chemistry*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Caspase 3 / drug effects
  • Caspase 3 / genetics
  • Cell Cycle / drug effects
  • Cell Line
  • Cell Line, Transformed
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / chemical synthesis
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology
  • Fruiting Bodies, Fungal
  • Gastritis / drug therapy
  • Genes, bcl-2 / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Mycelium / chemistry*
  • Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides / isolation & purification
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Precancerous Conditions / pathology
  • Precancerous Conditions / prevention & control*
  • Stomach Neoplasms / pathology
  • Stomach Neoplasms / prevention & control*
  • Stomach Ulcer / drug therapy
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / drug effects
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / genetics


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Polysaccharides
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Caspase 3