Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
 Open access journal indexed with Index Medicus & ISI's SCI  
Users online: 3437  
Home | Subscribe | Feedback | Login 
About Latest Articles Back-Issues Articlesmenu-bullet Search Instructions Online Submission Subscribe Etcetera Contact
 ::  Similar in PUBMED
 ::  Search Pubmed for
 ::  Search in Google Scholar for
 ::  Article in PDF (669 KB)
 ::  Citation Manager
 ::  Access Statistics
 ::  Reader Comments
 ::  Email Alert *
 ::  Add to My List *
* Registration required (free) 

  IN THIS Article
 ::  References
 ::  Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded44    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal


  Table of Contents     
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 68  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 243-244

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis associated with mushroom cultivation

1 Division of Respiratory Medicine, Mito Medical Center, University of Tsukuba, Mito, Japan
2 Division of Respiratory Medicine, Hitachinaka Medical Center, University of Tsukuba, Hitachinaka, Japan

Date of Submission12-Sep-2021
Date of Decision12-Dec-2021
Date of Acceptance15-Dec-2021
Date of Web Publication20-Jun-2022

Correspondence Address:
H Satoh
Division of Respiratory Medicine, Mito Medical Center, University of Tsukuba, Mito
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jpgm.jpgm_888_21

Rights and Permissions

How to cite this article:
Satoh H, Yamada H. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis associated with mushroom cultivation. J Postgrad Med 2022;68:243-4

How to cite this URL:
Satoh H, Yamada H. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis associated with mushroom cultivation. J Postgrad Med [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 May 31];68:243-4. Available from:

For workers dealing with organic substances as well as chemicals, hypersensitivity pneumonitis is an important occupational lung disease.[1],[2] It involves an immunoallergic mechanism caused by chronic inhalation of antigens and has significant morbidity, and early diagnosis and removal from exposure to the antigen are critically important in its management.[1],[2]

A 50-year-old woman with a 3-month history of persistent dry cough and shortness of breath was admitted to our hospital. The patient was involved in mushroom, abalone mushrooms (Pleurotus eryngii var. tuoliensis) and shimeji mushrooms (Hypsizygus marmoreus), cultivation for 6 years. Bilateral fine crackles were audible in the base of both lungs. The arterial oxygen saturation was 94% in room air. On admission, her white blood cell count was 5800/μL, and C-reactive protein was 1.62 mg/dL. A chest CT scan revealed mosaic attenuation in both lung fields [Figure 1]a. Hence, a provisonal diagnosis of pneumocystis pneumonia was considered. Beta-d glucan testing was done, but it was 16.3 pg/mL, within the normal range. The bronchoalveolar lavage fluid showed lymphocytosis (90%) and a low cluster of differentiation (CD) 4/8 ratio (1.14). The specimens obtained by transbronchial lung biopsy revealed alveolitis. The patient was advised rest at home for 2 weeks. The symptoms improved and the mosaic attenuation on the CT image also improved [Figure 1]b. Based on these findings and clinical course, the patient was diagnosed with hypersensitivity pneumonitis associated with mushroom cultivation.
Figure 1: (a) chest CT scan done at admission revealed mosaic attenuation in both lung fields; (b) repeat chest CT done 2 weeks later revealed reduction in the mosaic attenuation

Click here to view

Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is caused by repeated inhalation of organic or inorganic dust such as fungal spores, bacteria, and animal proteins. During indoor cultivation of mushrooms, a large number of spores, 4–8 μm in size, are suspended in the air. Some of the mushroom cultivators are sensitized by repeated inhalation of high concentrations of mushroom spores, and hypersensitivity pneumonitis develops by the mechanism of type III and type IV hypersensitivity. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis is also known as mushroom workers' lung, and thermophilic actinomycetes that grow in the compost are thought to cause this condition.[3],[4],[5]

Noster et al. in 1975[6] were the first to report hypersensitivity pneumonitis caused by the inhalation of edible mushroom spores called oyster mushrooms.[6] In recent years, there have been reports of various types of mushroom workers' lung such as shimeji mushrooms, king trumpet mushrooms, and nameko mushrooms, all of which are attributed to the mushroom spores or the mushrooms themselves.[3] In a diagnosis, it is necessary to listen to the medical history in detail, keeping in mind the causative antigen. It is important to confirm that exacerbation of symptoms occurs after work related to mushroom cultivation. In some cases, it may be necessary to do antigen testing to confirm the diagnosis. According to the American Thoracic Society Guideline, ground-glass opacities, poorly defined centrilobular nodules, and mosaic attenuation on inspiratory CT images, and air trapping on expiratory CT images are typical paterrns of non-fibrotic hypersensitivity pneumonitis.. Pulmonary function testing and sedimentation antibody test against the offending antigen can help provide useful information for diagnosing the condition. The treatment is based on the avoidance of identified antigens. In some patients, steroids and immunosuppressive drugs may be used to control the allergic inflammation and prevent lung fibrosis.

In today's word mushroom cultivation is increasing. Workers involved in the cultivation and distribution of edible mushrooms are at risk of developing hypersensitivity pneumonitis. Although still rare, medical professionals need to consider this diagnosis when examining a patient with persistent respiratory symptoms.

Declaration of patient consent

The authors certify that appropriate patient consent was obtained.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

 :: References Top

Fernández Pérez ER, Travis WD, Lynch DA, Brown KK, Johannson KA, Selman M, et al. Diagnosis and evaluation of hypersensitivity pneumonitis: CHEST guideline and expert panel report. Chest 2021;160:e97-156.  Back to cited text no. 1
Ojanguren I, Ferraro V, Morisset J, Muñoz X, Fink J, Cruz MJ. Assessment and management of occupational hypersensitivity pneumonitis. J Allergy Clin Immunol Pract 2020;8:3295-309.  Back to cited text no. 2
Moore JE, Convery RP, Millar BC, Rao JR, Elborn JS. Hypersensitivity pneumonitis associated with mushroom worker's lung: An update on the clinical significance of the importation of exotic mushroom varieties. Int Arch Allergy Immunol 2005;136:98-102.  Back to cited text no. 3
Bringhurst LS, Byrne RN, Gershon-Cohen J. Respiratory disease of mushroom workers; farmer's lung. J Am Med Assoc 1959;171:15-8.  Back to cited text no. 4
Sakula A. Mushroom-worker's lung. Br Med J 1967;3:708-10.  Back to cited text no. 5
Noster U, Hausen BM, Felten G, Schulz KH. Pilzzüchterlunge durch Speisepilzsporen. Pleurotus-Florida-Austernseitling [Mushroom worker's lung caused by inhalation of spores of the edible fungus pleurotus Florida (“oyster mushroom”). Dtsch Med Wochenschr 1976;101:1241-5.  Back to cited text no. 6


  [Figure 1]


Print this article  Email this article
Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow