Molecular mechanisms of bioactive polysaccharides from Ganoderma lucidum (Lingzhi), a review

Int J Biol Macromol. 2020 May 1:150:765-774. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2020.02.035. Epub 2020 Feb 6.


Ganoderma lucidum, commonly known as "Lingzhi" in Chinese, are well-known medicinal mushrooms. Lingzhi has been used in traditional Chinese herbal medicines for more than two thousand years. G. lucidum polysaccharides (GLPs) are present at high levels in G. lucidum cells and GLPs have molecular weights ranging from thousands to millions. GLPs have been widely studied for their various biological activities, such as antioxidant, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-diabetes, and immunomodulatory activities. The methods for GLPs extraction and characterization are mature, but the comprehensive research on the relationship between GLPs structure (i.e., molecular weight, tertiary structure, branching, substituents, and monosaccharide composition) and function is still quite limited. The aim of this review is to update and summarize the mechanisms of the various bioactive polysaccharides extracted from G. lucidum. The information presented on these bio-mechanisms should be valuable in the research and development of GLPs-derived therapeutics.

Keywords: Biological activity; Extraction; Ganoderma lucidum; Polysaccharide; Structural characterization.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / chemistry
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Antiviral Agents / chemistry
  • Antiviral Agents / therapeutic use
  • Carbohydrate Conformation
  • Fungal Polysaccharides / chemistry*
  • Fungal Polysaccharides / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Immunologic Factors / chemistry
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use
  • Reishi / chemistry*
  • Structure-Activity Relationship


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Antiviral Agents
  • Fungal Polysaccharides
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Immunologic Factors