Purpose: Mushrooms are reported to have a variety of health-promoting activities. However, little information is available on the effects of intake of polysaccharides from Pleurotus eryngii on obesity. In this study, we investigated the effects of P. eryngii polysaccharides on obesity and gut microbiota in mice fed a high-fat diet. Methods: Soluble polysaccharides were extracted from P. eryngii using hot water. C57BL/6J mice were fed a standard diet (ST), a high-fat diet (HF), or HF with 1% or 5% P. eryngii polysaccharide fraction (LP or HP) for 16 weeks. Adipose tissues were weighed and blood parameters were measured. Expression of genes involved in fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism was assessed by real-time quantitative PCR. The gut microbiota composition was analysed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Results: Body weight gain and mesenteric fat tissue were lower in the HP group than in the HF group. In the HP group, serum total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol levels decreased, and lipid and total bile acids in faeces increased. Mice in the HP group showed increased expression of the LDLR gene in the liver and GPR43 in fat. The relative abundance of Firmicutes was significantly higher in the HF and HP groups than in the ST group. The abundance of some short-chain fatty acid-producing gut bacteria was altered by P. eryngii polysaccharides. Conclusions: These results provide the first evidence that P. eryngii polysaccharides have anti-obesity and LDL cholesterol-lowering effects in obese mice through increased excretion of bile acids and lipids and altered microbiota.
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