Chaga Mushrooms (Inonotus Obliquus)


Inonotus obliquus Protects against Oxidative Stress-Induced Apoptosis and Premature Senescence

In this study, we investigated the cytoprotective effects of Inonotus obliquus against oxidative stress-induced apoptosis and premature senescence. Pretreatment with I. obliquus scavenged intracellular ROS and prevented lipid peroxidation in hydrogen peroxide-treated human fibroblasts. As a result, I. obliquus exerted protective effects against hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis and premature senescence in human fibroblasts. In addition, I. obliquus suppressed UV-induced morphologic skin changes, such as skin thickening and wrinkle formation, in hairless mice in vivo and increased collagen synthesis through inhibition of MMP-1 and MMP-9 activities in hydrogen peroxide- treated human fibroblasts. Taken together, these results demonstrate that I. obliquus can prevent the aging process by attenuating oxidative stress in a model of stress-induced premature senescence.


In conclusion, I. obliquus exerted ROS scavenging activity, inhibited hydrogen peroxide-induced apoptosis, and inhibited hydrogen peroxide or UV-induced premature senescence.


Antidiabetic activities of polysaccharides separated from Inonotus obliquus via the modulation of oxidative stress in mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes


This study evaluated the effects of Inonotus obliquus polysaccharides (IOs) on diabetes and other underlying mechanisms related to inflammatory factors and oxidative stress in a mouse model of streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetes. Four weeks administration of metformin (120 mg/kg) and IO1-4 (50%-80% alcohol precipitation), or IO5 (total 80% alcohol precipitation) at doses of 50 mg/kg reverses the abnormal changes of bodyweights and fasting blood glucose levels of diabetic mice. IOs significantly increased the insulin and pyruvate kinase levels in serum, and improved the synthesis of glycogen, especially for IO5. IOs restored the disturbed serum levels of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and malondialdehyde. The down-regulation of interleukin-2 receptor, matrix metalloproteinase-9, and the enhancement of interleukin-2 in serum of diabetic mice were significantly attenuated by IOs. Histologic and morphology examinations showed that IOs repaired the damage on kidney tissues, inhibited inflammatory infiltrate and extracellular matrix deposit injuries in diabetic mice. Compared with untreated diabetic mice, IOs decreased the expression of phosphor-NF-κB in the kidneys. These results show that IOs treatment attenuated diabetic and renal injure in STZ-induced diabetic mice, possibly through the modulation of oxidative stress and inflammatory factors. These results provide valuable evidences to support the use of I. obliquus as a hypoglycemic functional food and/or medicine.


In summary, we successfully confirmed the antidiabetes properties of IOs in a mouse model of diabetes induced by STZ, as indicated by decreased fasting plasma glucose levels, enhanced glycometabolism, balance in the state of the oxidative system, and regulation of inflammatory cytokines. Our investigation provides evidence that IOs possess both potential hypoglycemic and renal protection activities by improving the carbohydrate metabolism and enhancing antioxidative protection.


Chaga (Inonotus obliquus), a Future Potential Medicinal Fungus in Oncology? A Chemical Study and a Comparison of the Cytotoxicity Against Human Lung Adenocarcinoma Cells (A549) and Human Bronchial Epithelial Cells (BEAS-2B)


Background: Inonotus obliquus, also known as Chaga, is a parasitic fungus growing on birches and used in traditional medicine (especially by Khanty people) to treat various health problems. In this study, we aimed to quantify the 3 metabolites frequently cited in literature, that is, betulin, betulinic acid, and inotodiol in the Chaga recently discovered in forests located in Normandy (France), and to compare their concentrations with Ukrainian and Canadian Chaga. This study also explores the cytotoxicity of the French Chaga against cancer-derived cells and transformed cells. Methods: A quantification method by HPLC-MS-MS (high-performance liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry) of betulin, betulinic acid, and inotodiol was developed to study the French Chaga and compare the concentration of these metabolites with extracts provided from Chaga growing in Canada and Ukraine. This method was also used to identify and quantify those 3 compounds in other traditional preparations of Chaga (aqueous extract, infusion, and decoction). Among these preparations, the aqueous extract that contains betulin, betulinic acid, and inotodiol was chosen to evaluate and compare its cytotoxic activity toward human lung adenocarcinoma cells (A549 line) and human bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B line). Results: French Chaga contains betulin and betulinic acid at higher levels than in other Chaga, whereas the concentration of inotodiol is greater in the Canadian Chaga. Moreover, the results highlighted a cytotoxic activity of the Chaga’s aqueous extract after 48 and 72 hours of exposure with a higher effect on cancer-derived cells A549 than on normal transformed cells BEAS-2B (P = 0.025 after 48 hours of exposure and P = 0.004 after 72 hours of exposure).


In conclusion, the analysis of the organic extracts of Chaga revealed birch compounds such as betulin, betulinic acid, and a characteristic fungal molecule inotodiol. The Chaga recently discovered in the forests of Normandy contains inotodiol as do those collected in Canada and Ukraine, but our quantification method showed that the geographical origin of the fungus has an impact on the concentration of these metabolites. The biological results confirm a cytotoxic activity of the French Chaga on normal transformed BEAS-2B cells but to a far lesser extent than on lung cancer cells (A549). These observations allow us to consider the therapeutic interest of the Chaga, its chemical complexity, and to emphasize the interest of continuing to investigate mycotherapy potential by associating both chemical and biological approaches.