Systematic revelation of the protective effect and mechanism of Cordycep sinensis on diethylnitrosamine-induced rat hepatocellular carcinoma with proteomics

Oncotarget. 2016 Sep 13;7(37):60270-60289. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.11201.


Cordyceps sinensis (C. sinensis) has been reported to treat liver diseases. Here, we investigated the inhibitory effect of C. sinensis on hepatocarcinoma in a diethylnitrosamine (DEN)-induced rat model with functional proteome tools.In the DEN-exposed group, levels of serum alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase were increased while C. sinensis application remarkably inhibited the activities of these enzymes. Histopathological analysis also indicated that C. sinensis could substantially restore hypertrophic hepatocytes caused by DEN, suggesting that C. sinensis is effective in preventing DEN-induced hepatocarcinogenesis.We therefore comprehensively delineated the global protein alterations using a proteome platform. The most meaningful changes were found among proteins involved in oxidative stress and detoxification. Meanwhile, C. sinensis application could attenuate the carbonylation level of several enzymes as well as chaperone proteins. Network analysis implied that C. sinensis could obviously alleviate hepatocarcinoma via modulating redox imbalance, protein ubiquitination and tumor growth-associated transcription factors.Our findings provide new insight into the potential effects of C. sinensis in preventing carcinogenesis and might help in developing novel therapeutic strategies against chemical-induced hepatocarcinoma.

Keywords: Cordycep sinensis; diethylnitrosamine; hepatocellular carcinoma; proteomics.

MeSH terms

  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Animals
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Biological Products / isolation & purification
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / chemically induced
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Hepatocellular / prevention & control*
  • Cordyceps / chemistry*
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • Hepatocytes / drug effects
  • Hepatocytes / metabolism
  • Hepatocytes / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / metabolism
  • Liver Neoplasms, Experimental / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Oxidation-Reduction / drug effects
  • Protein Carbonylation / drug effects
  • Proteome / metabolism
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Rats, Inbred Lew


  • Biological Products
  • Proteome
  • Diethylnitrosamine
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase