Aging promotes changes in the immune balance leading to immunosenescence. Ingestion of Ganoderma lucidum attenuates some physiological changes due to aging, promoting a reestablishment of the immune response. However, metabolic pathways and mechanisms by which this occurs are still not well understood. Many studies have investigated the isolated components of Ganoderma such as polysaccharides, tripterpenes and proteins. However, few studies have demonstrated the synergistic effect of this herbal medicine as a whole. It is unknown whether the association of these active compounds found in the mushrooms promotes greater effectiveness in the therapy when compared to the isolated components. The effect and mechanism of Ganoderma is poorly understood as well as its immunomodulatory effects in the lymphocyte response profile of elderly. Thus, the aim of this study is to investigate the effects of Ganoderma lucidum treatment on lymphocyte function in elderly woman. Initially, woman with age between 60 to 80 years old will be recruited. The evaluation of anthropometric measures, body composition (weight, height, percentage of fat and lean mass) and venous blood collection of volunteers before and after 8 weeks of treatment with the mushroom will be performed. The study will follow double-blind protocol, in which 20 elderly women will be supplemented with 1,500 mg per day of Ganoderma for 8 weeks; 20 elderly women will be supplemented with 1,500 mg of starch (placebo). In each collection, lymphocytes will be isolated and evaluated: the percentage of regulatory T lymphocytes (CD4 +, CD25 +, Foxp3 +); differentiation of lymphocytes in culture in the presence of Concanavalin A characterizing Th1, Th2 and Th17 profile by flow cytometry. mRNA expression of cytokine and transcription factors involved with differentiation of lymphocytes (IL-35, TGF-beta, Foxp3, Blimp-1, ROR-alpha, RORgt, GATA3, STAT4, STAT3, STAT1 and T-bet) will be evaluated by real-time PCR. In this study we intend to determine if Ganoderma lucidum is able to promote the reestablishment of the lymphocyte balance in elderly.
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