Research Progress of Cordyceps sinensis and Its Fermented Mycelium Products on Ameliorating Renal Fibrosis by Reducing Epithelial-to-Mesenchymal Transition

J Inflamm Res. 2023 Jul 7:16:2817-2830. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S413374. eCollection 2023.


Renal fibrosis is a hallmark and common outcome of various chronic kidney diseases (CKDs) and manifests pathologically as accumulation and deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) in the kidney. Epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) has been shown to be an important mechanism involved in renal fibrosis. Cordyceps sinensis, a traditional Chinese medicine, has long been used for the treatment of renal fibrosis. As research on the mycelium of C. sinensis progressed, a variety of medicines developed from fermented mycelium were used to treat CKD. However, their efficacies and mechanisms have not been fully summarized. In this review, five medicines developed from fermented mycelium of C. sinensis are presented. The pharmacodynamic effects of C. sinensis on different animal models of renal fibrosis are summarized. The in vitro studies and related mechanisms of C. sinensis on renal cells are detailed. Finally, the application and efficacy of these five commercial medicines that meet national standards in different types of CKD are summarized. From this review, it can be concluded that C. sinensis can alleviate various causes of renal fibrosis to some extent, and its mechanism is related to TGF-β1 dependent signaling, inhibition of inflammation, and improvement of renal function. Further research on rigorously designed, large-sample, clinically randomized controlled trial studies and detailed mechanisms should be conducted.

Keywords: Cordyceps sinensis; epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition; fermented mycelium products; renal fibrosis.

Publication types

  • Review