Anti-inflammatory effects of four psilocybin-containing magic mushroom water extracts in vitro on 15-lipoxygenase activity and on lipopolysaccharide-induced cyclooxygenase-2 and inflammatory cytokines in human U937 macrophage cells

Sanah Malomile Nkadimeng*, Christiaan M.L. Steinmann, Jacobus N. Eloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: During a pathological inflammation, macrophages are activated to produce accumulation of inflammatory mediators such as induced-cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), 15-lipoxygenase (15-LOX) and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Pathological inflammation is a significant problem in many chronic diseases. As a result, more research into natural remedies with anti-inflammatory potential is crucial. Since ancient times, psilocybin-containing mushrooms, also known as magic mushrooms, were used for mind healing and also to advance the quality of life. However, not much is known about their anti-inflammatory potential. This study aimed at investigating the anti-inflammatory effects of four psilocybin-containing mushrooms (Panaeolus cyanescens, Psilocybe natalensis, Psilocybe cubensis and Psilocybe cubensis leucistic A+ strain) from genus Panaeolus and Psilocybe for the first time in vitro on 15-LOX activity and also on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammation in human U937 macrophage cells. Methods: Mushrooms were grown and extracted with boiling hot water. Effects of the four water extracts on 15-LOX activity were determined. Confluent human U937 cells were differentiated with phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate and treated with the hot-water extracts (25 and 50 µg/mL) 2 hours before being stimulated with 1 µg/mL LPS over 24 hours. Quercetin was used as a positive control. Control cells were differentiated but not LPS-induced nor treated. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-6, and IL-10 concentrations were measured. Levels of COX-2 and mitochondrial activity were also determined. Results: The four water extracts had poor 15-LOX inhibition activity with IC50 > 250 µg/mL. Extracts were safe at the concentration studied and inhibited the LPS-induced production of pro-inflammatory mediators, TNF-α and IL-1β significantly and lowered IL-6 and COX-2 concentrations in treated human U937 macrophage cells. Water extracts also increased percentage viability of treated cells and levels of anti-inflammatory IL-10 non-significantly. Conclusion: The study suggested that the hot-water extracts of the four psilocybin-containing magic mushrooms have potential anti-inflammatory effects executed by downregulating pro-inflammatory mediators.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3729-3738
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Inflammation Research
Volume14
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • 15-LOX
  • COX-2
  • Panaeolus cyanescens
  • Pro-inflammatory cytokine
  • Psilocybe cubensis
  • Psilocybe cubensis A strain
  • Psilocybe natalensis

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