Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources
Vol. 2(1), March 2011, pp. 19-27
Ganoderma lucidum (Fr.) P. Karst occurring in South India attenuates gastric
ulceration in rats
K A Rony, John Mathew, P P Neenu and K K Janardhanan*
Department of Microbiology, Amala Cancer Research Centre, Amala Nagar, Thrissur, Kerala - 680 555, India
Received 5 June 2009; Accepted 13 January 2011
The ethanol extract of Ganoderma lucidum (Fr.) P. Karst occurring in South India was examined for antiulcer activity
against ethanol and Indomethacin induced ulcer in rats. Pretreatment of oral doses of 500 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg showed
significant reduction of ulcer index, with a percentage of inhibition of 55.17, 72.79 and 47 and 76.14% in ethanol and
Indomethacin induced gastric ulceration, respectively. Administration of G. lucidum extract elevated the levels of
Glutathione (GSH) as well as activities of Superoxide dismutase (SOD), Glutathione Peroxidase (GPx) and Catalase (CAT)
and significantly lowered the levels of lipid peroxidation (LPO) in a dose dependent manner. The antiulcer property of the
mushroom might be due to its profound free radical scavenging activity. The findings suggest the potential therapeutic use
of G. lucidum as an effective non-toxic antiulcer agent.
Keywords: Ganoderma lucidum, Indomethacin, Ulcer, Ethanol, South India
IPC code; Int. cl. (2011.01)—A61K 36/00, A61P 1/04
Introduction Mushrooms represent a major and a yet largely
Gastric hyperacidity and gastroduodenal ulcer is a untapped source of new pharmaceutical products.
serious global problem today. Peptic ulcers have been Medicinal mushrooms are traditionally used in China
described as an imbalance between the luminal acid and Japan for the treatment of a variety of diseases.
peptic attacks versus the mucosal defenses. Acid and Many pharmaceutical substances with potent and
pepsin components form the aggressive factors, and unique valuable properties isolated recently from
the mucosal layer of mucin-bicarbonate secretion, mushrooms are being used worldwide. Ganoderma
phospholipid layer, tight junction’s cell proliferation, lucidum (Fr.) P. Karst (Plate 1) commonly known as
prostaglandins, and the urogastrone epidermal healing Reishi or Ling Zhi has been regarded as a panacea for
factors form the defensive factors1. Enhancement of all types of diseases in Traditional Chinese Medicines
gastric mucus has been proposed to explain antiulcer (TCM). Ganoderma belongs to the Polyporaceae
activity. Stress, smoking, nutritional deficiencies and family of Basidiomycota and are widely distributed in
ingestion of nonsteroidal-anti-inflammatory drugs South India. G. lucidum contains a variety of
(NSAIDs) are the major factors, which increase the chemical ingredients, including triterpenes,
incidence of gastric ulcer2. polysaccharides, nucleosides, fatty acids, alkaloids,
Gastric ulcer therapy faces a major drawback in
modern medicine due to the unpredictable side effects
of the long-term use of commercially available drugs.
As it affects 5% of the global population3, the
treatment of this painful disease and its prevention has
become one of the challenging problems of today.
Hence, the search is still on to find a drug, which will
serve as a powerful therapeutic agent to prevent and
cure gastric ulceration. The search now extends to the
systematic screening of natural products.
Fax: 91-487-2307020, 2307868 Plate 1―Ganoderma lucidum growing on a tree
20 INDIAN J NAT PROD RESOUR, MARCH 2011
proteins, peptides, amino acids and inorganic suspended in distilled water and employed for the
elements4. The mushroom has been used as a remedy experiments.
for a wide range of ailments and chronic diseases,
such as migraine, hypertension, arthritis, bronchitis, Determination of the effect of G. lucidum extract on gastric
asthma, anorexia, gastritis, haemorrhoids, diabetes, ulcer induced by ethanol
hyperocholesterolaemia, nephritis, dysmenorrhoea, Animals were divided into 5 groups of 6 animals in
constipation, lupus erythematosis, hepatitis and each group. Group 1 was kept as normal without any
cardiovascular problems5. Previous investigations treatment. All other groups were fasted for 36 h and
carried out in our laboratory showed that G. lucidum administrated 5 mL/kg of 80% ethanol. Group II
occurring in South India possesses significant (Vehicle control) animals received ethanol alone.
antioxidant, antitumor, anti-inflammatory, Groups III, lV, and V were treated orally with
antinociceptive, nephroprotective and radioprotective ranitidine (50 mg/kg body weight) and G. lucidum
properties,6-8. The current studies were undertaken to extract (500 and 1000 mg/kg body weight),
evaluate the gastroprotective effects of G. lucidum respectively, 1 h prior to the administration of
against ethanol and Indomethacin induced gastric ethanol. Both G. lucidum extracts and ranitidine were
injury in rats. suspended in distilled water and orally administrated
to different groups using a gavage. Similarly control
Materials and Methods group was administrated with distilled water (vehicle)
Chemicals and animals were sacrificed after 4 h of the
Nitroblue tetrazolium (NBT) and 5-5′ dithiobis (2- administration of ethanol9. Subsequently stomachs
nitrobenzoic acid) (DTNB) were purchased from were removed and examined.
Sisco Research Laboratories, Mumbai, India.
Determination of the effect of G. lucidum extract on gastric
Deoxyribose and riboflavin were obtained from
ulcer induced by Indomethacin
Merck, India. All other chemicals used were of Animals were divided into 5 groups of 6 animals in
analytical reagent grade. each group. Group 1 was kept as normal without any
treatment. All other groups were fasted for 36 h and
Female albino rats of Wistar strain (180-200 g) administered orally with Indomethacin (50 mg/kg
were purchased from Small Animal Breeding Centre, body weight)10. Group II (control) animals received
Kerala Agricultural University, Mannuthy, Thrissur, Indomethacin alone. Groups III, IV, and V were
Kerala, India and were kept for a week under pretreated with ranitidine (50 mg/kg body weight) and
environmentally controlled conditions with free G. lucidum extract (500 and 1000 mg/kg body
access to standard food (Sai Durga Feeds and Foods, weight), respectively, 1 hour prior to the
Bengaluru, India) and water ad libitum. Animal administration of Indomethacin. Both G. lucidum
experiments were carried out according to guidelines extracts and ranitidine were suspended in distilled
of Institutional Animal Ethics Committee (IEAC). water and orally administrated to different groups
using a gavage. Similarly control group was
Preparation of the extract administrated with distilled water (vehicle). After 6 h,
Fruiting bodies of G. lucidum growing on the the animals were sacrificed and stomachs were
Caesalpinia coriaria (Jacq.) Willd. trees in the local removed and opened along the greater curvature and
area were collected. The voucher specimen was examined.
deposited in the herbarium of Centre for Advanced
Determination of ulcer index (UI)
Studies in Botany, University of Madras, Chennai,
India (HERB.MUBL.3175). The fruiting bodies of the The ulcerative index (UI) was calculated by
mushroom were cut into small pieces, dried at 40- severity of gastric mucosal lesions and graded as
50ºC for 48 h and powdered.100 g samples of the follows:
powdered fruiting bodies of the mushroom materials Erosions Score
were extracted with 70% (v/v) ethanol on a boiling 1 mm or less 1
water bath for 48 h. The extraction was repeated 1-2 mm 2
again. Extracts pooled and evaporated under vacuum More than 2 mm 3
and finally lyophilized. The residue (5%) was UI was calculated by using following formula:
RONY et al: GANODERMA LUCIDUM ATTENUATES GASTRIC ULCERATION IN RATS 21
UI = 1 × (number of lesions of grade 1) + 2 × resulted in severe gastric damage. The symptoms
(number of lesions of grade 2) + 3 × (number of were visible from the outside of the stomach as thick
lesions of grade 3). reddish-black lines. After opening, the stomach
The overall score was divided by a factor 10, which lesions were found in the mucosa and consisted of
was designated as Ulcer index11. elongated bands usually parallel to the long axis of the
stomach. They were located mostly in the corpus (the
Biochemical analysis portion of the stomach secreting acid and pepsin)
After the measurement of gastric lesions, the whereas no gross lesions were developed in the fore-
mucosa of the glandular stomach was removed by stomach (the non-secretory part of the stomach).
scraping with a blunt knife, and a 10% homogenate The effect of G. lucidum on gastric lesions induced
was prepared in Tris buffer (pH 7.0) and used for by ethanol is presented in Table 1. Administration of
biochemical analysis by the following methods. The 80% ethanol to rats produced severe gastric erosions
superoxide dismutase (SOD) was estimated by the with an ulcer index of 5.22 ± 0.74. Pretreatment with
riboflavin photoreduction method12, and catalase by G. lucidum extract in doses of 500 mg/kg and
measuring the rate of decomposition of H2O2 at 240 1000 mg/kg and standard drug ranitidine at 50 mg/kg
nm13. The tissue lipid peroxidation was estimated by significantly diminished the ulcer index and the
the thiobarbituric acid (TBA) method14 glutathione percentage of lesion with no intra luminal bleeding
(GSH) by measuring its reduction with DTNB15. compared with control group (P < 0.001). The
Glutathione peroxidase (GPx) was estimated by the percentage of ulcer inhibition was 55.17 and 72.79 for
method based on the degradation of H2O2 in the G. lucidum 500 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg groups of
presence of GSH16. The protein content of the animals, respectively (Table 1). The percentage
homogenate was determined by Lowry’s method17. reduction of ulcer lesion was compared with standard
drug ranitidine. The group of positive control, using
50 mg/kg of ranitidine, presented a 57% reduction in
After the termination of the experiments, animals lesions.
were sacrificed, the stomach was excised and cut open The activities of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD,
through the ventral suture and a small portion was Catalase and GPx were lowered approximately 2.14,
fixed in 10% formalin solution immediately after
3.44 and 1.74 fold in the case of control group with
sacrifice, which was passed through ascending grades
respect to the normal. Ranitidine (50 mg/kg) showed
of alcohol, cleared in xylene and impregnated and 1.69, 2.66 and 1.41-fold increase for SOD, Catalase
embedded in paraffin-dehydrated specimens. The
and GPx, respectively with respect to control group.
sections of 3-4 µm were made using a microtome and
Antioxidant activities were improved by the
after staining with haematoxylene and eosine, the
G. lucidum extract treatment. The increase in activity
sections were molded in DPX and observed under
light microscope. Table 1―Effect of stabilization of gastric mucosa by
G. lucidum extract (GE) in ethanol induced gastric ulcer
Groups Treatment Ulcer index % of
All data were represented as mean ± S.D and it was inhibition
statistically analyzed using one-way analysis of
variance (ANOVA) (using the Graph Pad Instat3 Normal ― ― 100
software package). The significant difference between
the normal, control, standard and treatment were Vehicle Control 5 ml/kg 5.22 ± 0.74 0
further analyzed by Bonferroni’s t-test. P values less (80% ethanol)
than 0.05 were considered as significant.
Ranitidine + 50 mg/kg b.wt 2.2 ± 0.4*** 57
The G. lucidum extract showed significant decrease GE + ethanol 500 mg/kg b.wt 2.3 ± 0.6*** 55.17
in rat mucosal injury induced by ethanol and
GE + ethanol 1000 mg/kg 1.42 ± 0.68*** 72.79
Indomethacin in a dose-dependent manner. b.wt
Administration of 80% ethanol (1 mL) and
Values are mean ± SD, n = 6; *** P< 0.001 (Bonferroni test) with
Indomethacin (50 mg/kg body weight) to the animals respect to control.
22 INDIAN J NAT PROD RESOUR, MARCH 2011
was 2.08, 2.52 and 1.44 fold (in the case of with an ulcer index of 3.9 + 0.81, whereas the treated
1000 mg/kg treated group) and 1.64, 1.46 and groups of animals showed a significant decrease in
1.24-fold (in the case of 500 mg/kg treated group) for ulcer index values in a dose-dependent manner
SOD, Catalase and GPx respectively than that of (Table 2) with no intraluminal bleeding. The
control group. percentage of ulcer inhibition was 47 and 76.14 for
The level of tissue lipid peroxidation was found to G. lucidum 500 mg/kg and 1000 mg/kg groups of
be increased 3.03fold in the case of control group than animals, respectively (Table 2). The group of positive
that of normal. Ranitidine (50 mg/kg) showed control, using 50 mg/kg of ranitidine, presented a
1.55-fold decrease of lipid peroxidation. G. lucidum 51.28% reduction in lesions.
extract treatment decreased the level of lipid The activities of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD,
peroxidation and the decrease was approximately 2.14 Catalase and GPx were lowered approximately 3.68,
and 1.44-fold in the case of 1000 mg/kg and 500 4.66 and 1.54-fold in the case of control group with
mg/kg treated group with respect to control respect to the normal. Ranitidine (50 mg/kg) showed
(Figure 1). effective antioxidant activity, 1.91, 2.23 and 1.24-fold
The level of reduced glutathione was found to be increase for SOD, Catalase and GPx, respectively.
decreased 1.83 fold in the case of control group with Antioxidant activities were improved by the
respect to normal. Ranitidine (50 mg/kg) showed 1.62 G. lucidum extract treatment. The increase in activity
fold increase of GSH. G. lucidum extract improved was 3.18, 4.39 and 1.44-fold (in the case of 1000
the level of GSH and increase was approximately mg/kg treated group) and 1.96, 1.85 and 1.14-fold (in
1.65 and 1.19 fold in the case of 1000 mg/kg and the case of 500 mg/kg treated group) for SOD,
500 mg/kg treated group with respect to control Catalase and GPx, respectively.
(Figure 1). The level of tissue lipid peroxidation was found to
Indomethacin administration to rats produced be increased 2.92-fold in the case of control group
severe gastric damage in control group of animals than that of normal. Ranitidine (50 mg/kg) showed
Fig. 1―Effect of G. lucidum on the antioxidant parameters in ethanol induced gastric ulcer: Values are mean + SD, n = 6. Bars represent
standard deviation; (a) P<0.001; (b) P<0.01 as compared to normal (Bonferroni test); *** P<0.001, ** P< 0.01,
* P< 0.05 and (ns) P>0.05, non significant as compared to control group (Bonferroni test).
RONY et al: GANODERMA LUCIDUM ATTENUATES GASTRIC ULCERATION IN RATS 23
1.41-fold decrease of lipid peroxidation. G. lucidum respect to normal. Ranitidine (50 mg/kg) showed
extract treatment decreased the level of lipid 1.24-fold increase of GSH. G. lucidum extract
peroxidation and the decrease was approximately 2.23 improved the level of GSH in stomach. The increase
and 1.63-fold in the case of 1000 mg/kg and 500 was approximately 1.56 and 1.36 fold in the case of
mg/kg treated group with respect to control 1000 mg/kg and 500 mg/kg treated group with respect
(Figure 2). to control (Figure 2).
The level of reduced glutathione was found to be The histopathological observations of ethanol and
decreased 1.59-fold in the case of control group with Indomethacin induced ulceration models (Plates 2, 3)
Table 2―Effect of stabilization of gastric mucosa by G. lucidum showed severe erosion of gastric mucosa with
(GE) extract in Indomethacin induced gastric ulcer necrotic patches, sub-mucosal edema and neutrophil
Groups Treatment Ulcer index % of infiltration in control group animals. The control
inhibition groups also showed the presence of necrotic debri in
― 100 the lamina proper of the mucosa infiltered with
polymorphonuclear leukocytes. The depth of the
Vehicle Control 50 mg/kg b.wt 3.9 ± 0.81 0 injury extends up to the muscularis with RBC
extravasations. All of these pathological alterations
Ranitidine + 50 mg/kg b.wt 1.9 ± 0.61*** 51.28 were inhibited to a greater extent by the treatment
Indomethacin with G. lucidum extract.
GE + 500 mg/kg b.wt 2.06 ± 0.45*** 47
Reactive oxygen species are well known to play a
GE + 1000 mg/kg b.wt 0.93 ± 0.38*** 76.14 major role in the etiology and pathophysiology of
Indomethacin human diseases, in general and digestive system
Values are mean ± SD, n = 6; *** P<0.001 (Bonferroni test) with disorders in particular18. A growing body of
respect to control experimental and clinical evidence suggests that
Fig. 2―Effect of G. lucidum on the antioxidant parameters in Indomethacin induced gastric ulcer: Values are mean + SD, n = 6; Bars
represent standard deviation; (a) P<0.001; (b) P<0.01 as compared to normal (Bonferroni test); *** P<0.001, ** P< 0.01,
* P< 0.05 and (ns) P>0.05 non significant as compared to control group (Bonferroni test)
24 INDIAN J NAT PROD RESOUR, MARCH 2011
Plate 2―Histopathological analysis of gastric mucosa of rats stained with hematoxylin and eosin: (a) Normal; (b) Vehicle Control (80%
ethanol); (c) Ethanol + G. lucidum (500 mg/kg); (d) Ethanol + G. lucidum (1000 mg/kg); (e) Ethanol + Ranitidine (50 mg/kg).
RONY et al: GANODERMA LUCIDUM ATTENUATES GASTRIC ULCERATION IN RATS 25
Plate 3―Histopathological analysis of gastric mucosa of rats stained with hematoxylin and eosin: (a) Normal; (b) Vehicle Control
(Indomethacin); (c) Indomethacin + G. lucidum (500 mg/kg); (d) Indomethacin + G. lucidum 1000 mg/kg (e) Indomethacin +
Ranitidine (50 mg/kg).
26 INDIAN J NAT PROD RESOUR, MARCH 2011
gastric mucosal damage by ethanol19, nonsteroidal The formation of gastric mucosal lesions by
anti-inflammatory drugs20 (NSAIDs) and necrotizing agents, such as ethanol, has been reported
Helicobactor pylori is mediated through ROS21. to involve the depression of the gastric defensive
Moreover, ROS may play an important role in gastric mechanisms. Oral treatment with ethanol causes focal
ulceration induced by several types of stress21. ROS hyperemia, edema, necrosis, and submucosal
also decreases the levels of endogenous antioxidants, hemorrhage, as well as circulatory disturbances22. The
such as GSH, α-tocopherol and ascorbate and make formation of gastric mucosal lesion following ethanol
the mucosa more prone to oxidative damage21. administration involves several mechanisms which
Antioxidant enzymes are considered to be the reduce the flow of gastric blood, thereby contributing
primary defense that prevents biological to the development of hemorrhage and necrosis, and
macromolecules from oxidative damage. The results to the solubilization of mucus constituents in the
of the present study indicate that the G. lucidum stomach. These actions result in an increased flow of
extract treatments substantially enhance the activities Na+ and K+, increased pepsin secretion, and a loss of
of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, Catalase and H+ ions and histamine into the lumen. The control
GPx. Living tissues are endowed with innate group treated orally with ethanol clearly produces the
antioxidant defense mechanisms, including the expected characteristic zone of necrotizing mucosal
enzymes CAT and SOD. SOD catalyzes the removal lesions. On the other hand, the treatments with G.
of superoxide radical, which would otherwise damage lucidum significantly decreased the lesion index and
the membrane and biological structures. CAT has percentage of lesion. These results indicate that G.
been shown to be responsible for the detoxification of lucidum possesses an antiulcerogenic effect related to
significant amounts of H2O2. Therefore, these cytoprotective activity.
enzymes act cooperatively at different sites in the Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
metabolic pathway of free radicals. A reduction in the such as Indomethacin, have the ability to cause
activity of SOD and CAT is associated with the gastroduodenal ulceration, and this effect is related to
accumulation of highly reactive free radicals, leading the ability of these agents to suppress prostaglandin
to deleterious effects such as loss of integrity and synthesis. In the stomach, prostaglandins play a vital
function of cell membranes. protective role, stimulating the secretion of bicarbonate
Lipid peroxidation, a process induced by free radicals, and mucus, maintaining mucosal blood flow, and
leads to oxidative deterioration of polyunsaturated lipids. regulating mucosal cell turnover and repair23. Thus, the
Under normal physiological conditions, only low levels suppression of prostaglandin synthesis by NSAIDS
of lipid peroxides occur in body tissues. The excessive results in increased susceptibility to mucosal injury and
generation of free radicals leads to peroxidative changes gastroduodenal ulceration. In this model, G. lucidum
that ultimately result in enhanced lipid peroxidation. In displayed a significant reduction in mucosal damage.
our experiment we found that G. lucidum extract These results suggest the possible involvement of
treatment decreased the level of lipid peroxides which prostaglandins and/or mucus in the antiulcer effect of
might be in part due to reduced formation of lipid the extract.
peroxide generation of free radicals. Histopathological studies showed that pretreatment
In the present study the level of GSH was found to with extract inhibited ethanol and Indomethacin induced
be increased in the G. lucidum treated group. ulcer, oedema, hemorrhage and necrosis in gastric
Glutathione is a major, non-protein thiol in living mucosa. The protection against ulcerogenesis, as
organisms, which performs a key role in co-ordinating observed in the significant reduction in ulcer index as
the innate antioxidant defense mechanisms. It is well as protection to the gastric mucosal GSH, GPx and
involved in the maintenance of the normal structure antioxidant status of ulcerated animals clearly confirm
and function of cells, probably by its redox and the cytoprotective effect of G. lucidum extract against
detoxification reactions. Ingestion of ethanol is the ethanol and Indomethacin induced gastric ulceration.
predisposing cause of acute and hemorrhagic gastric The preliminary phytochemical analysis of the
erosions in humans. Ethanol lowers the concentration extract of G. lucidum indicated the presence of terpenes
of non-protein sulphydryls, especially by glutathione, and polysaccharides as major chemical constituents.
there by exerting ulcerogenic effect by increasing G. lucidum polysaccharides and triterpenes/tri
ROS formation19. terpenoids have been reported to possess significant
RONY et al: GANODERMA LUCIDUM ATTENUATES GASTRIC ULCERATION IN RATS 27
biological activities24. Several medicinal herbs have 9 Paiva LAF, Rao VSN, Granosa NV and Shilveira ER,
been found to have ulcer-healing effects, and they are Gastroprotective effect of Copaifera langsdorfii oleo-resin on
experimental gastric ulcer models in rats, J Ethnopharmacol,
traditionally used for the prevention and treatment of 1998, 62(1), 73-78.
peptic ulcer disease25. Polysaccharides isolated from G. 10 Babinocova M, Schronerova K and Sourivong P, Antiulcer
lucidum have been reported to the potent healing effect activity of water extract of Scoparia dulcis, Fitoterapia, 2008,
on Indomethacin induced gastric lesions in the rats26. 79, 587-588.
Local direct effects of G. lucidum polysaccharides 11 Main LH and Whittle BJR, Investigation of the vascodilator
and antisecretory role of prostaglandin in the rat gastric
(GLPS) on gastric mucosa may play an important role. mucosa by use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, Brit J
GLPS may directly bind to the infiltrated immune Pharmacol, 1975, 53(2), 217-224.
effector cells (e.g. macrophages), subsequently altering 12 Mc Cord JM and Fridovich I, Superoxide dismutase, an
their activities. In addition intragastric administration enzymatic function for erythrocuprein (hemocuprein), J Biol
of G. lucidum polysaccharides will form a layer of Chem, 1969, 244, 6049-6055.
13 Aebi HE, Catalase, In: Methods in Enzymatic Analysis,
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G. lucidum occurring in South India has profound transferase activities in rat liver, Biochimica et Biophysica
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mucosa from ethanol and Indomethacin induced 16 Hafeman DG, Sundae RA and Houestra WG, Effect of dietary
selenium on erythrocyte and liver glutathione peroxidase in the
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toxic antiulcer agent. 18 Repetto MG and Liesuy SF, Antioxidant properties of natural
compounds used in popular medicine for gastric ulcers, Brazil
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