Mushrooms Bioactive as Prebiotics to Modulate Gut Microbiota in Relationships with Causes and Prevention of Liver Diseases (Review)

Int J Med Mushrooms. 2020;22(6):509-519. doi: 10.1615/IntJMedMushrooms.2020034706.


Over the years, the gut microbiota has become a main focus in gastroenterology and hepatology research. It is made up of billions of bacteria that can have essential functions ranging from digestion to the control of the immune response through the production of substances resulting from microbial metabolic activities. However, the liver remains the primordial organ as the first filter of toxins, nutrients, as well as its bacterial metabolic products from the intestines and passing through the portal vein which is the main junction connecting them and constituting about 75% of liver blood supply. Hence, the importance of their interactions, which, associated with the immune system, play mediating roles both in normal physiology and in the predisposition to disease, especially liver disease. In addition, possible therapeutic manifestations due to the modification of the intestinal microflora through prebiotics can come from nutrition such as mushroom consumption. Although used for food and medical needs for centuries, mushrooms have not yet fully disclosed their positive effects on health, particularly on the regulation of intestinal microbiota and subsequent effect on liver diseases. This review will present the knowledge acquired on the contribution of the intestinal microbiota to the functioning of the liver; factors causing dysbiosis, the process by which it causes disorders of intestinal homeostasis and induces the genesis of liver diseases; and the therapeutic benefits of culinary-medicinal mushrooms on the body in general through the intestinal microbiota. Mushrooms have several bioactive compounds, for example, polysaccharides such as xylans, galactans, β and α-glucans, and chitin, that justify their use as prebiotics to promote the growth of intestinal bacteria and to induce beneficial effects in the health of the host.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Agaricales* / chemistry
  • Animals
  • Bacteria / growth & development
  • Diet
  • Dysbiosis / etiology
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / genetics
  • Gastrointestinal Microbiome / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Liver / physiology*
  • Liver Diseases / etiology*
  • Liver Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Prebiotics*


  • Prebiotics