Clinical application of Cordyceps sinensis on immunosuppressive therapy in renal transplantation

Transplant Proc. 2009 Jun;41(5):1565-9. doi: 10.1016/j.transproceed.2009.02.085.


Objective: We sought to explore the adjunctive effects of Cordyceps sinensis (CS) in clinical renal transplantation.

Materials and methods: Patients (n = 202) were divided randomly by lottery into a treatment (n = 93) and a control group (n = 109). Patients in the treatment group were treated with CS 1.0 g 3 times a day in addition to the immunosuppressive regimen given to the control group. We compared patient and graft survivals, incidence, time and severity of acute rejection episodes, chronic allograft nephropathy (CAN), hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity, biochemistry parameters including indicators of liver and kidney functions, fats, proteinuria, dosages, and whole blood concentrations of cyclosporine (CsA).

Results: Patient and graft survival rates, serum creatinine (SCr), and blood urea nitrogen (BUN) were not significantly different between the 2 groups (P > .05). Serum uric acid (UA) and 24-hour urinary total protein (24-hour UTP) were significantly lower in the treatment group than in the control group (P < .05). The incidences (11.83% vs 15.60%) and times to acute renal allograft rejection (23.48 +/- 7.22 vs 22.27 +/- 8.03 days posttransplantation) were not significantly different between the treated and control groups (P > .05). Patients receiving thymoglobulin antirejection therapy (3 cases) were fewer in the heated versus control group (13 cases; P = .014). The incidences of hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity in the treated group were 12.90% and 19.35%, significantly lower than 24.77% and 33.94% in the control group, respectively (P < .05). At 2 to 6 months posttransplantation, the CsA dosages in the treated group were significantly lower than those in the control group (P < .05). The whole blood trough CsA concentrations in the treated group were significantly lower than those in the control group at 3 to 6 months posttransplantation (P < .05). The decreasing trends of the 2 aforementioned parameters in the treatment group were approximately linear among treated subjects compared with approximately quadratic in the control group (P < .05). The incidence of CAN in the treated group was 7.53%, which was significantly lower than 18.35% in the control group (P = .024). The 24-hour UTP level in CAN patients within the treated group was significantly lower than the control group after transplantation (P = .045). The differences in total bilirubin, SCr, serum UA, and total cholesterol levels among otherwise normal patients in the treated group were significantly lower than those among the control group (P < .05).

Conclusions: The use of CS may allow decreased dosages and concentrations of CsA causing fewer side effects without an increased risk of acute rejection. In addition, CS with reduced dose CsA may decrease proteinuria and retard CAN progression.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Blood Urea Nitrogen
  • Cordyceps / immunology*
  • Creatinine / blood
  • Female
  • Graft Survival / immunology
  • Histocompatibility Testing
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney Diseases / classification
  • Kidney Diseases / surgery
  • Kidney Transplantation / immunology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Proteinuria / prevention & control
  • Uric Acid / blood
  • Young Adult


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Uric Acid
  • Creatinine