Wound healing

Compiled by Initiative Team Member John Collier, PhD

Wound healing is a complex and dynamic process that happens to restore cellular structures and tissue layers after damage. It usually occurs in three stages:

(I) Inflammation;
(II) Proliferation; and
(III) Maturation.


In order to reduce scaring anti-proliferative effect is desirable. This will allow the wound to heal without the large build up of cells that happens when scar tissue is developing. A proper balanced diet is important for would healing and studies have shown that a poor diet has had an inhibitive effect on wound healing.

Wound healing mushrooms

Mushrooms contain a range of compounds that are very important for wound healing. All the B vitamins have a significant role especially pantothenic (Lacroix B, Didier E, Grenier J. Role of pantothenic and ascorbic acid in wound healing processes: in vitro study on fibroblasts. Intl J Vitam Nutr Res 1988; 58: 507-13.) and mushrooms contain 33% of the RDA for pantothenic acid.

Studies using human cell lines have shown that a carbohydrate from Agaricus bisporus called lectin had an anti-proliferative effect by inhibiting fibroblast (cells that cause scar tissue) formation. This indicates that Agaricus bisporus can potentially be used where subtle healing is needed such as after eye surgery.

In Vitro Studies (human cell lines)

The edible mushroom lectin from Agaricus bisporus has been reported to have anti-proliferative effects on a range of cell types. A study has been undertaken to determine whether it might have inhibitory activity on Tenon's capsule fibroblasts in in vitro models of wound healing and therefore have a use in the modification of scar formation after glaucoma surgery. Human ocular fibroblasts in monolayers and in three-dimensional collagen lattices were exposed to Agaricus bisporus (0­100 µg/ml). Agaricus bisporus caused a dose-dependent inhibition of proliferation and lattice contraction without significant toxicity. The data showed that Agaricus bisporus possesses key features required of an agent that might control scarring processes and suggest that Agaricus bisporus may be especially useful where subtle modification of healing may be needed although further studies are required (Batterbury et al., 2002).

Animal Model (rat) Studies

The impaired wound healing in diabetes mellitus is a major clinical problem. Sparassis crispa (SC) is a medicinal mushroom and its beta-glucan content is more than 40%. Wound closure in STZ-induced diabetic rats was significantly accelerated by oral administration of SC. This effect might involve an increase in the migration of macrophages and fibroblasts, and beta-glucan from SC directly increased the synthesis of type I collagen (Kwon et al., 2009).

Polysaccharide fractions from Ganoderma lucidum have been shown to have an active component with healing efficacy on acetic acid-induced ulcers in the rat, which may represent a useful preparation for studies on the prevention and treatment of peptic ulcers (Gao et al., 2004). Pretreatment with Hericium erinaceus (Bull.: Fr.) Pers. (Aphyllophoromycetideae) has also been shown to reduce ulceration in ethanol-induced gastric ulcers in rats (Mahmood et al., 2008).

A more recent study has shown that Lentinus edodes polysaccharide administration significantly raised activities of serum antioxidant enzymes and decreased levels of serum, mucosal interleukin-2 (IL-2) and TNF-α in rats with oral ulceration, suggesting that Lentinus edodes polysaccharide may play a part in ameliorating oral ulceration (Yu et al., 2009d).