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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Molecular Biology of Human Pathogens Associated with Food

Location: Produce Safety and Microbiology Research

Title: Mechanism of Hericium erinaceus (Yamabushitake) Mushroom-Induced Apoptosis of U937 Human Monocytic Leukemia Cells

Authors
item Kim, Sung-Phil -
item Kang, Mi-Young -
item Choi, Yong Hee -
item Kim, Jae Ho -
item Nam, Seok-Hyun -
item Friedman, Mendel

Submitted to: Food and Function
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 24, 2011
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Phytochemicals in some foods are a potential source of bioactive safe compounds for cancer chemoprevention and antimicrobial effects. In the present study, we evaluated extracts of edible Hericium erinaceus (Yamashitake, Lion’s Mane) mushrooms for their ability to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in U937 human monocytic leukemia cells. Cell culture, cell viability, cytotoxicity, flow cytometry, chromosomal DNA integrity, mitochondrial membrane potential, expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins, and activation and inhibition of caspase assays were carried out to help define the mechanism of observed apoptosis. The aqueous and aqueous/ethanolic extracts were active in all assays. The results of the bioassays with the active extracts are consistent with an apoptosis mechanism governing suppression of the cell proliferation pathway that involves activation of mitochondria-mediated caspase-3 and caspase-9. The results indicate that H. erinaceus mushrooms can benefit human nutrition and may have therapeutic potential against human leukemia. Because anticarcinogenic natural products often also exhibit antibiotic properties, antimicrobial and anti-toxin effects of the mushroom extracts merit study.

Technical Abstract: Phytochemicals in some foods are a potential source of bioactive safe compounds for cancer chemoprevention. In the present study, we evaluated hot water (HWE), microwaved 50% ethanol (MWE), acidic (ACE), and alkaline (AKE) extracts of the fruit body (sporocarp) of edible Hericium erinaceus (Yamabushitake, Lion’s Mane) mushrooms for their ability to induce apoptosis (programmed cell death) in U937 human monocytic leukemia cells. Cell culture, cell viability, cytotoxicity, flow cytometry, chromosomal DNA integrity, mitochondrial membrane potential, expression of pro- and anti-apoptotic proteins, and activation and inhibition of caspase assays were carried out to help define the mechanism of observed apoptosis. The aqueous and aqueous/ethanolic extracts were active in all assays, whereas the acidic and alkaline extracts were both inactive. The results of the bioassays with the active extracts are consistent with an apoptosis mechanism governing suppression of the cell proliferation pathway that involves activation of mitochondria-mediated caspase-3 and caspase-9, but not caspase-8. Analysis of the freeze-dried mushroom powder showed that it contains high amounts of proteins, carbohydrates, and minerals. The results indicate that H. erinaceus mushrooms are a high-quality functional food that can benefit human nutrition and may have therapeutic potential against human leukemia.

Last Modified: 9/1/2014
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