Cordyceps owing to its versatile nature has proved its versatility by protecting against chronic kidney disease (CKD). Clinical trials have established the use of cordyceps as a renoprotectant remedy.
For example, the Bailing capsule, a formulation made from C. sinensis mycelia, ameliorated the rejection of renal transplant, improved renal and liver function, regulated hypoproteinemia and hyperlipidemia, stimulated hemopoietic function, and decreased the incidence of infections in patients after renal transplant. In patients with chronic renal failure, ingestion of another cordyceps product Cs-4, called JinShuiBao, also significantly promoted renal function, which decreased serum urea and creatinine and increased total blood protein and calcium.
In a test, C. sinensis enhanced cellular immunity in rats with chronic renal failure.
How was the test conducted?
In a test, Cordycepin was prepared by preparative HPLC. CKD patients were assigned into two groups-Cordyceps militaris (COG, 100 mg daily) and placebo (CG) groups. Cordycepin activity was measured using human embryonic kidney cells (HEK293T). Biochemical indices, the levels of TLR4, NF-κB, cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2), tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), and interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), were measured by real-time qRT-PCR, or ELISA kits and or Western blot.
After treatment of three months:-
· Cordycepin reduced the levels of urinal protein, blood urea nitrogen (BUN).
· Cordyceps militaris improved lipid profile and redox capacity of CKD patients by reducing the serum levels of TG, TC, and LDL-C and increasing the HDL-C level in the COG group when compared with the CG group.
· The serum levels of cystatin-C (Cys-C), myeloperoxidase (MPO), and malondialdehyde (MDA) were reduced by and while nitric oxide (NO) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) were increased in the COG group when compared with the CG group.
· Cordycepin also reduced the levels of TLR4, NF-κB, COX2, TNF-α, and IL-1β in HEK293T cells.
Thus, Cordyceps militaris protected against CKD progression by affecting the TLR4/NF-κB lipid and redox signalling pathway via cordycepin.
Proposed mechanism of action
CKD risk is associated with the Toll-like receptor 4/nuclear factor-kappa B (TLR4/NF-κB) signalling pathway. Cordycepin is the main component of Cordyceps militaris and protects the kidney by affecting the TLR4/NF-κB pathway.
C. sinensis has been used for treating renal diseases, such as chronic nephritis, chronic pyelonephritis, chronic renal dysfunction and nephritic syndrome. The extract of the fungi functions by its anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory activity. Tests proved that it caused downregulation of the apoptotic gene of caspase-3 resulting in a decrease in inflammatory genes such as MCP-1, TNF-α, and iNOS. Thus C. sinensis plays a potential therapeutic role in renal transplantation.