Ethnopharmacological relevance: Ganoderma lucidum (Ling Zhi) is a basidiomycete white-rot macrofungus that has been used as a tranquilizing agent (i.e., An-Shen effect) for the treatment of restlessness, insomnia, and palpitation in China for hundreds of years.
Aim of the study: The present study aimed to investigate whether Ganoderma lucidum extract (GLE) influences the sleep of freely moving rats and the potential mechanism.
Materials and methods: Ganoderma lucidum extract was extracted from fruiting bodies of Ganoderma lucidum. Rats were treated with GLE orally for 3 days, and on the third day, electroencephalographic and electromyographic recordings were made for 6h from 9:00 p.m. to 3:00 a.m. in freely moving rats. Sleep parameters were analyzed using SleepSign software. Tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) levels were measured using the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
Results: Three-day administration of GLE significantly increased total sleep time and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep time at a dose of 80 mg/kg (i.g.) without influencing slow-wave sleep or REM sleep in freely moving rats. TNF-α levels were significantly increased concomitantly in serum, the hypothalamus, and dorsal raphe nucleus. The hypnotic effect of GLE (80 mg/kg, i.g.) was significantly inhibited by intracerebroventricular injection of TNF-α antibody (2.5 μg/rat). Co-administration of GLE (40 mg/kg, i.g.) and TNF-α (12.5 ng/rat, i.c.v.), both at ineffective doses, revealed an additive hypnotic effect.