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We investigated diet supplementation with shiitake mushroom fruiting bodies on biochemical and histological changes in hypercholesterolemic rats. Six-wk old female Sprague-Dawley albino rats were divided into three groups of 10 rats each. A diet containing 5% Lentinus edodes fruiting bodies given to hypercholesterolemic rats reduced plasma total cholesterol,triglyceride, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), total lipid, phospholipids, and the LDL/high-density lipoprotein ratio by 34.33,53.21, 75.00, 34.66, 25.73, and 71.43%, respectively. Feeding mushroom also significantly reduced body weight in hypercholesterolemic rats. However, it had no detrimental effects on plasma albumin, total bilirubin, direct bilirubin, creatinine,blood urea nitrogen, uric acid, glucose, total protein, calcium, sodium, potassium, chloride, inorganic phosphate, magnesium,or enzyme profiles. Feeding mushroom increased total lipid and cholesterol excretion in feces. The plasma lipoprotein fraction,separated by agarose gel electrophoresis, indicated that L. edodes significantly reduced plasma β and pre-β-lipoprotein but increased α-lipoprotein. A histological study of hepatic cells by conventional hematoxylin-eosin and oil red-O staining showed normal findings for mushroom-fed hypercholesterolemic rats. These results suggest that shiitake mushrooms could be recommended as a natural cholesterol lowering substance in the diet.