Hericium erinaceus - a mushroom against neurodegenerative diseases


Hericium erinaceus is a kind of metabolic syndrome regulator and tonic drug in Chinese Medicine. Fungi of the class of basidiomycetes are known to form a broad spectrum of biologically active secondary metabolites, especially low molecular weight terpenoids. Erinacines, seldom cyathane type diterpenoids, are produced in submerged grown mycelia and fruiting bodies of Hericium erinaceus. Erinacines have been reported to promote nerve growth factor (NGF) synthesis, which suggests the application of H. erinaceus or secondary metabolites derived thereof for the treatment and prevention of dementia and further neural degenerative diseases. H. erinaceus is part of the traditional Chinese Medicine and has and has proved efficacy in models of Alzheimer`s disease and in a human trial to delay cognitive decline in the elderly. 


Prof. Zorn`s lab will produce H. erinaceus and will isolated & analyse its metabolites. The potential of erinacines to improve mitochondrial function will be tested in the group of Prof. Eckert using different cell models of AD (HEK-APPsw cells, SH-SY5Y-APP cells, aged NMRI mice). After screening of 12 erinacines 3 hit compounds will be identified. The most efficient erinacine (lead substance) will be further tested in animal models of aging (aged NMRI mice, Prof. Eckert`s lab) and AD (APP/PS1 mice, Prof. Chen`s lab) whether they can improve cognition and mitochondrial function in the brain. Furthermore, the effects on AD pathology will be tested in APP/PS1 mice. 

Supported by:

Groups involved: 

Prof. Dr. Gunter P. Eckert, Nutriton in Prevention & Therapy, JLU Giessen (PI)
Prof. Dr. Holger Zorn, Food chemistry & Food Biotechnology, JLU Giessen. 
Prof. Dr. Sawou Cheng, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Hunan University, Changsha, China.



© Prof. Dr. Gunter P. Eckert 2018