The Neuroprotective Effect of Hericium erinaceus Extracts in Mouse Hippocampus after Pilocarpine-Induced Status Epilepticus

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Feb 16;20(4):859. doi: 10.3390/ijms20040859.


Hericium erinaceus (HE), a culinary-medicinal mushroom, has shown therapeutic potential in many brain diseases. However, the role of HE in status epilepticus (SE)-mediated neuronal death and its underlying mechanisms remain unclear. We investigated the neuroprotective effects of HE using a pilocarpine-induced SE model. Male C57BL/6 mice received crude extracts of HE (60 mg/kg, 120 mg/kg, or 300 mg/kg, p.o.) for 21 d from 14 d before SE to 6 d after SE. At 7 d after SE, cresyl violet and immunohistochemistry of neuronal nuclei revealed improved hippocampal neuronal survival in animals treated with 60 mg/kg and 120 mg/kg of HE, whereas those treated with 300 mg/kg of HE showed similar neuronal death to that of vehicle-treated controls. While seizure-induced reactive gliosis, assessed by immunohistochemistry, was not altered by HE, the number of hippocampal cyclooxygenase 2 (COX2)-expressing cells was significantly reduced by 60 and 120 mg/kg of HE. Triple immunohistochemistry demonstrated no overlap of COX2 labeling with Ox42, in addition to a decrease in COX2/GFAP-co-immunoreactivity in the group treated with 60 mg/kg HE, suggesting that the reduction of COX2 by HE promotes neuroprotection after SE. Our findings highlight the potential application of HE for preventing neuronal death after seizures.

Keywords: Hericium erinaceus; anti-inflammation; cyclooxygenase 2; neuroprotection; pilocarpine; status epilepticus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Basidiomycota / chemistry*
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Neurons / drug effects*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / administration & dosage
  • Pilocarpine / toxicity
  • Status Epilepticus / chemically induced
  • Status Epilepticus / drug therapy*
  • Status Epilepticus / pathology


  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Pilocarpine