By Marc Garby

How the mushroom polysaccharides influence the immune system

Following up on the recent post, here are some more details on how mushroom polysaccharides can help the immune system. It is important to mention that different mushroom extracts activate different immune cells. For example, Turkey Tail activates the natural killer cells (innate immune system) and Reishi activates B cells (adaptive immune system). Actually, Reishi can do both, but you get the picture.
The overall concept about the immune-modulatory, anti-tumor and anti-cancer activities (Figure 2) of these mushroom polysaccharides are due to their diverse structural conformation, variability in monosaccharide composition and ability to interact with several polysaccharide receptors present on the cell surface (dectin-1, toll-like receptors) which ultimately activate different immune cells like cytotoxic macrophages, natural killer cells, dendritic cells and cytokines.
More studies are needed in the future to understand the relationship between structural conformation and the corresponding immune function mechanism of these mushroom polysaccharides.