Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 47, Issue 5, pp 504–518 | Cite as

Glucans from the edible mushroom Pleurotus pulmonarius inhibit colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis in mice

  • Iris Lavi
  • Lili Nimri
  • Dana Levinson
  • Irena Peri
  • Yitzhak Hadar
  • Betty SchwartzEmail author
Original Article—Alimentary Tract



We have recently demonstrated that polysaccharides from fruiting body extract (FBE) or mycelia extract (ME) of the edible mushroom Pleurotus pulmonarius exert antiproliferative effects in intestinal cells and an anti-inflammatory effect in a dextran sulfate sodium (DSS) mouse model of acute colitis. The aim of this study was to assess the role of fungal FBE and ME in colon carcinogenesis.


In vitro, human colorectal cancer cells were treated with FBE and ME and analyzed for inflammation response, for markers of apoptosis, and for cell-cycle progression. In vivo, FBE and ME were tested in a mouse model of colitis-associated colorectal carcinogenesis induced by cyclic treatments with DSS and azoxymethane. Treated mice were fed a daily diet containing 2 or 20 mg FBE or ME per mouse for 80 days.


In vitro, FBE and ME induced apoptosis in a dose-responsive manner and modulated the expression of Bcl-2, Bax, and cytochrome c, and blocked tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α-induced inhibitor of nuclear factor (NF) (Iκ)-Bα degradation and NF-κB nuclear translocation. In vivo, dietary administration of FBE and ME significantly reduced the formation of aberrant crypt foci, which precedes colorectal cancer, and of microadenomas. The treatments significantly lowered the expression of proliferating cell nuclear antigen and increased the number of cells undergoing apoptosis in the colon. Additionally, FBE and ME inhibited the expression of the proinflammatory cytokine TNF-α in colonic tissue.


We conclude that P. pulmonarius FBE and ME inhibit colitis-associated colon carcinogenesis induced in mice through the modulation of cell proliferation, induction of apoptosis, and inhibition of inflammation.


Apoptosis Colon Carcinogenesis Glucans Pleurotus pulmonarius 



Fruiting body extract


Mycelia extract


Proliferating cell nuclear antigen


Aberrant crypt foci



This research was partially supported by a Grant from Yissum Research Development Company of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Iris Lavi
    • 1
  • Lili Nimri
    • 1
  • Dana Levinson
    • 2
  • Irena Peri
    • 1
  • Yitzhak Hadar
    • 2
  • Betty Schwartz
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Institute of Biochemistry, Food Science and Nutrition, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael

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