Coriolus versicolor biomass increases dendritic arborization of newly generated neurons in mouse hippocampal dentate gyrus
Ferreiro E (1)(2)(3), Pita IR (4)(3), Mota SI (1)(2)(3), Valero J (5)(6), Ferreira NR (7), Fernandes T (8)(9), Calabrese V (10), Fontes-Ribeiro CA (4)(3), Pereira FC (4)(3), Rego AC (1)(3)(11)
(1) CNC-Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
(2) III-Institute for Interdisciplinary Research (IIIUC), University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
(3) Institute of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics/IBILI, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
(4) CNC.IBILI - University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
(5) Achucarro Basque Center for Neuroscience, Science Park of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) Leioa, Spain
(6) Ikerbasque Basque Foundation for Science, Bilbao, Bizkaia, Spain
(7) Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Coimbra, Coimbra, Portugal
(8) Ministry of Education, Maputo, Mozambique
(9) Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Lisbon University, Lisbon, Portugal
(10) Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, School of Medicine, University of Catania, Italy
(11) ) Institute of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Coimbra, Portugal
A research team, based in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Coimbra (FMUC) and in the Center for Neuroscience and Cell Biology (CNC), Portugal, has found that feeding adult mice with the mushroom Coriolus versicolor increased the complexity of new neurons (nerve cells) formed in the hippocampus, an area of the brain linked to emotions and memory. This finding may have implications for the development of a disease-modifying therapy to prevent or slow the cognitive decline associated with neurodegenerative diseases.
The researchers discovered that feeding the mice with Coriolus versicolor resulted in a significant increase in the length, volume and arborization (fine branching) of the dendrites (finger-like extensions of the neurons that allow them to communicate with each other) of newly-generated neurons in the hippocampus.
They also discovered that this increased ‘dendritic complexity’ was accompanied by an increase in the levels of the protein β-catenin within these neurons. β-catenin plays a major role in neurogenesis (the development of new neurons) through a process known as Wnt/β-catenin signaling.1,2,3
Thus, the positive effect of Coriolus versicolor on the dendritic complexity of hippocampal newly-generated neurons may be mediated, at least in part, by increased levels of β-catenin and enhanced Wnt/β-catenin signaling. The authors concluded that there is a thus-far unexplored neurogenic potential of Coriolus versicolor supplementation, and that it might represent a preventive strategy for neurological conditions that involve cognitive decline.