Pleurotus eryngii produces various functional molecules that mediate physiological functions in humans. Recently, we observed that P. eryngii produces molecules that have antidepressant functions. An ethanol extract of the fruiting body of P. eryngii was obtained, and the extract was purified by XAD-16 resin using an open column system. The ethanol eluate was separated by HPLC, and the fraction with an antidepressant function was identified. Using LC-MS, the molecular structure of the HPLC fraction with antidepressant function was identified as that of tryptamine, a functional molecule that is a tryptophan derivative. The antidepressant effect was identified from the ethanol extract, XAD-16 column eluate, and HPLC fraction by a serotonin receptor binding assay and a cell-based binding assay. Furthermore, a forced swimming test (FST) showed that the mice treated with purified fractions of P. eryngii exhibited decreased immobility time compared with nontreated mice. From these results, we suggest that the extract of P. eryngii has an antidepressant function and that it may be employed as an antidepressant health supplement.
Keywords: P. eryngii; antidepressants; fungi; mushrooms; tryptamine.