In vitro and in vivo testing of the hypocholesterolemic activity of ergosterol- and β-glucan-enriched extracts obtained from shiitake mushrooms (Lentinula edodes)
A supercritical extraction plant (with a 6 L extraction cell) was successfully used to obtain ergosterol-enriched extracts from Lentinula edodes (40 ºC, 225 bar, 1-5h, 20 L/h recirculated CO2). Ergosterol (ERG) and the SFE extract (SFE) with the highest ergosterol concentration were also microemulsified and submitted to in vitro digestion to study their ability to displace cholesterol from dietary mixed micelles (DMMs). ERG was also mixed with a β-glucan-enriched (33.5%) extract (BGE) from L. edodes to investigate synergies. Results indicated that they all (including BGE without ERG) could reduce cholesterol levels in DMMs. However, when ERG and SFE were administrated to mice simultaneously with a hypercholesterolemic diet, no significant differences in serum cholesterol levels were detected compared to control. Only when BGE was administrated to another mice model after the hypercholesterolemia was previously induced, significant reduction of cholesterol was noticed.