Natural products of the medicinal fungus Ganoderma lucidum: Occurrence, biological activities, and pharmacological functions



Ganoderma lucidum, a fungus used in traditional Chinese medicine, produces polysaccharides and oxygenated triterpenoids with a very broad spectrum of biological activities and pharmacological functions. Among the Ganoderma triterpenoids, many pairs of C-3 α/β stereoisomers and C-3/C-15 positional isomers have been identified. Biosynthetic study has indicated that the C-3α series of oxygenated triterpenoids is derived from the C-3β series via an oxidation-reduction pathway. The interaction of Ganoderma triterpenoids with human platelets in the induction of aggregation and inhibition of agonist-induced aggregation and signal transduction has been elucidated. Reduction of cellular mevalonate content to a stage in which cholesterol synthesis is strongly inhibited and cell growth is marginally arrested sensitizes hepatoma cells to the oxygenated triterpenoids. A combination treatment of lovastatin and Ganoderma triterpenoids in animal studies has exhibited a potential anticancer effect. © 2003 The Japan Chemical Journal Forum and Wiley Periodicals, Inc., Chem Rec 3: 172–180; 2003: Published online in Wiley InterScience ( DOI 10.1002/tcr.10058