مقاله انگلیسی: قارچ های موثر روی سیستم ایمنی بدن، قارچ های موثر روی بیماری های خودایمنی
Natural Sources of Immune Modulators
Naturopathic doctors should consider the source of immunosuppressant drugs when looking for a natural approach. Cyclosporine is actually derived from the Cordyceps mushroom. Tolypocladium inflatum, which gave rise to cyclosporine, is the asexual form of the Cordyceps mushroom.9 Mycophenolate is derived from the fungus Penicillium stoloniferum or the related species Penicillium echinulatum.10 Although the next generation of transplant medications came from bacteria and antibodies, mushrooms and fungi have immune-modulating features that can be important in practice.
Treatment with medicinal mushrooms may be able to lessen the need for pharmaceutical intervention. Like cyclosporine, Cordyceps is also able to downregulate IL-2.11 Even with a long history of use, research is finding new applications for Cordyceps. It shows potential in the treatment of type I diabetes by slowing the cell-mediated destruction of insulin-producing beta cells.12 Cordyceps also works as a lupus treatment by reducing titers of anti-double-stranded DNA antibodies.13 For those patients who take cyclosporine, Cordyceps can reduce the toxicity of the medication when taken concommitantly.14
Other mushrooms have shown promise for treating autoimmune conditions, despite the fact that reishi and shiitake mushrooms are known to increase IL-2.15,16 Ganoderma lucidum has been shown in an murine model to reduce sialadenitis (inflammation of the salivary gland) by altering the CD4(+)/CD8(+) ratio, T lymphocytes and serum IgG levels.17 In a study of glomerulonephritis patients, it was shown to restore immunocirculatory balance and stopped persistent proteinuria.18 Ganoderma tsugae was shown in mice to prevent the formation of autoantibodies and decrease mononuclear cell infiltration into parenchymal tissue.19
In another animal model, shiitake mushrooms have shown potential in immune-mediated colitis by altering the CD4/CD8 ratio. This was accomplished by increasing hepatic trapping of CD8, resulting in alleviation of colitis symptoms.20 Other mushrooms being investigated for use with autoimmune conditions are Phellinus linteus for rheumatoid arthritis21 and Phellinus igniarius for autoimmune encephalopathy.22 Much of this activity may be due to a copper-containing enzyme found in mushrooms called tyrosinase, or polyphenol oxidase.23 Findings from a mouse study suggest that this extract by itself may have applications with vitiligo.24