Ganoderma lucidum is a medicinal mushroom used in traditional Chinese medicine with putative tranquilizing effects. However, the component of G. lucidum that promotes sleep has not been clearly identified. Here, the effect and mechanism of the acidic part of the alcohol extract of G. lucidum mycelia (GLAA) on sleep were studied in mice. Administration of 25, 50 and 100 mg/kg GLAA for 28 days promoted sleep in pentobarbital-treated mice by shortening sleep latency and prolonging sleeping time. GLAA administration increased the levels of the sleep-promoting neurotransmitter 5-hydroxytryptamine and the Tph2, Iptr3 and Gng13 transcripts in the sleep-regulating serotonergic synapse pathway in the hypothalamus during this process. Moreover, GLAA administration reduced lipopolysaccharide and raised peptidoglycan levels in serum. GLAA-enriched gut bacteria and metabolites, including Bifidobacterium, Bifidobacterium animalis, indole-3-carboxylic acid and acetylphosphate were negatively correlated with sleep latency and positively correlated with sleeping time and the hypothalamus 5-hydroxytryptamine concentration. Both the GLAA sleep promotion effect and the altered faecal metabolites correlated with sleep behaviours disappeared after gut microbiota depletion with antibiotics. Our results showed that GLAA promotes sleep through a gut microbiota-dependent and serotonin-associated pathway in mice.
Conflict of interest statement
The authors declare no competing interests.