What’s Lentinan polysaccharide?

Shii-take (Lentinula edodes), is a basidiomycetes, toadstoda, picoderma, originated in Asia, is the world’s second-largest edible mushroom. Lentinan polysaccharide is is the main active component of Lentinus edodes, and is a kind of high protein and low-fat food with rich nutrition and high medicinal value. Lentinan is a glucan with β -d (1→3) glucan residue as the main chain and (1→6) glucan residue as side chain. Lentinus edodes polysaccharide is gray-white powder, mostly acidic polysaccharide, soluble in water and dilute alkali, especially soluble in hot water, insoluble in ethanol, acetone, ethyl acetate, ether and other organic solvents, its aqueous solution is transparent and viscous, and has significant effects on regulating body immunity, anti-tumor, anti-virus, anti-inflammation, anti-oxidation and other aspects.

Extraction of Lentinan polysaccharide

Lentinan is a polar macromolecular compound whose specific structure is closely related to immune activity. It is generally believed that increasing the solubility of polysaccharides can improve its physiological activity. The activity of polysaccharides with medium relative molecular weight was higher than that of polysaccharides with high or low relative molecular weight. Polysaccharides soluble in hot water have been shown to have antitumor activity. At present, lentinus edodes polysaccharides are mainly extracted by hot water and dilute alkali solution, avoiding the extraction in strong acid and alkali solution, otherwise it is easy to cause glycosidic bond breakage and conformation change in polysaccharides. The commonly used separation and purification methods include boiling water extraction, ethanol precipitation, dialysis and column chromatography.

Benefits of Lentinan


Lentinus edodes polysaccharide (Lentinus edodes polysaccharides) is a non-specific immune stimulant, which has no side effects on human body, but has a broad regulatory effect on immune system, and can regulate the function of T lymphocytes, B lymphocytes, macrophages and other immune cells at multiple levels. Lentinus edodes polysaccharides can enhance the phagocytosis of macrophages, regulate the phenotype of macrophages, induce the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, promote the generation of T lymphocytes and enhance the activity of T lymphocytes, and improve the balance of host body. Lentinan can also promote T lymphocyte proliferation, relieve the inhibition of tumor to host immune system, and enhance the anti-tumor effect. However, lentinan is mainly used as an adjuvant in the treatment of tumors.


Antitumor effect

Lentinan is the main antitumor component of Lentinus edodes. It was found that the cancer mortality rate of those engaged in the cultivation of edible and medicinal fungi was significantly lower than that of the general population, which made people aware of the anti-cancer activity of edible and medicinal fungi. Lentinan does not directly kill tumor cells but exerts anti-tumor effects by inducing biological reactions in the body, mainly through:

  • Prevent tumorigenesis;
  • Enhanced anti-tumor activity (immunomodulatory effect) after tumor occurrence;
  • Inducing tumor cell apoptosis directly kills tumor, inhibiting tumor angiogenesis and inhibiting tumor growth.

The therapeutic effect of polysaccharide on tumor is not directly killing tumor cells, but by enhancing the immune defense system of patients, to achieve the anti-cancer effect. Experiments have proved that polysaccharides from Lentinus edodes, Astragalus membranaceus and Cypress fungus can enhance the function of T cells and restore normal immune function of animals, especially the activation of T cells, NK cells and LAK cells with the function of killing tumor cells. In addition, Lentinan can promote the proliferation of B cells and make them produce a large number of immunoglobulin antibodies, thus enhancing the resistance to disease.


Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects

Lentinan has remarkable effect on anti – inflammation and anti – oxidation. Lentinan can protect acute alcoholic liver injury, reduce TNF-α and serum aspartate aminotransferase levels, alleviate inflammatory infiltration and scavenge free radicals. Lentinus edodes can protect mice from hepatitis injury induced by CCl4, down-regulate the levels of GLUTamate-oxaloacetate transaminase and glutamate-pyruvate transaminase in plasma, and increase the activities of SOD and GPX antioxidant enzymes. Lentinan can inhibit hepatocyte inflammatory lesions, reduce hepatosomatic index, inhibit the activity of inducible nitric oxide synthase (I NOS), reduce the content of NO, and improve chronic hepatitis B liver fibrosis.


Antiviral effect

Lentinan can inhibit infectious hematopoietic necrosis virus by directly inactivating and inhibiting virus replication. Lentinus edodes polysaccharide aqueous agent has control effect on tomato virus disease. Lentinan of influenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, adenovirus, rotavirus, etc.


For diabetes and asthma

It was found that the mechanism of edible fungus polysaccharides in treating diabetes may be: changing blood circulation, speeding up blood circulation in the pancreas of the body, and increasing the secretion of insulin due to sufficient oxygen in the pancreatic B cells. On the other hand, improving the function of insulin target cell receptors in muscle cells allows the same amount of insulin to have more effect. In some elderly patients with diabetes, the amount of insulin is in the normal range when the endocrine function is tested, so diabetes will occur, mainly due to the decreased sensitivity of insulin target cells to insulin.

The cell permeability of mast cells in the trachea of asthmatic patients is large, so that the asthmatic substance histamine is easily released from mast cells. Asthma patients taking fungal polysaccharides, trachea smooth muscle mast cells, cell membrane creation and repair will be accelerated. Histamine release from mast cells is blocked, which inhibits asthma.


Application of Lentinan


Lentinan has good efficacy in treating gastric cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer. Lentinan, as an immune adjuvant, is mainly used to inhibit the occurrence, development and metastasis of tumors, improve the sensitivity of tumors to chemotherapy drugs, and improve the physical condition of patients. Lentinan combined with other drugs in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B can improve the negative effect of hepatitis B virus markers and reduce the side effects of antiviral drugs. In addition, polysaccharides from edible fungi can be used to treat tuberculosis infection.


Health Food

Lentinus edodes polysaccharide can enhance humoral immunity and cellular immunity, possibly because it can improve the immunity of infected cells, enhance the stability of cell membrane, inhibit cytopathic changes, promote cell repair and other functions. At the same time, Lentinan polysaccharide also has anti-retroviral activity, can treat a variety of viral diseases such as influenza, hepatitis.

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