About this Journal Submit a Manuscript Table of Contents
Mediators of Inflammation
Volume 2005 (2005), Issue 2, Pages 63-80
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/MI.2005.63

Antiinflammatory and Immunomodulating Properties of Fungal Metabolites

1Agrotechnology and Food Innovations, Wageningen University and Research Center, Bornsesteeg 59, Wageningen, 6708 PD, The Netherlands
2Cell Biology and Immunology Group, Wageningen University and Research Center, Marijkeweg 40, Wageningen, 6709 PG, The Netherlands

Received 22 December 2004; Accepted 25 January 2005

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

We discuss current information on the ability of extracts and isolated metabolites from mushrooms to modulate immune responses. This can result in a more enhanced innate and acquired disease resistance. The major immunomodulating effects of these active substances derived from mushrooms include mitogenicity and activation of immune effector cells, such as lymphocytes, macrophages, and natural killer cells, resulting in the production of cytokines, including interleukins (ILs), tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF)-α, and interferon gamma (INF)-γ. In particular, the ability of selective mushroom extracts to modulate the differentiation capacity of CD4+ T cells to mature into TH1 and/or TH2 subsets will be discussed. As a consequence these extracts will have profound effects in particular diseases, like chronic autoimmune TH1-mediated or allergic TH2-mediated diseases. Immunosuppressive effects by mushroom components have also been observed. The therapeutic effects of mushrooms, such as anticancer activity, suppression of autoimmune diseases, and allergy have been associated with their immunomodulating effects. However, further studies are needed to determine the molecular mechanisms of the immunomodulating effects of mushrooms metabolites both individually and in complex mixtures, for example, extracts.