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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2014, Article ID 537234, 12 pages
Research Article

Ergosterol Is the Active Compound of Cultured Mycelium Cordyceps sinensis on Antiliver Fibrosis

1Institute of Liver Diseases, Shuguang Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, 528 Zhangheng Road, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 201203, China
2Shanghai Clinical Key Laboratory of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai 201203, China
3E-Institute of TCM Internal Medicine, Shanghai Municipal Education Commission, Shanghai 201203, China

Received 9 July 2014; Accepted 9 September 2014; Published 15 October 2014

Academic Editor: Jae Youl Cho

Copyright © 2014 Yuan Peng et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Cultured mycelium Cordyceps sinensis (CMCS) is a Chinese herbal medicine, which is widely used for a variety of diseases including liver injury in clinic. The current study aims to investigate the protective effects of CMCS against liver fibrosis and to exploit its active antifibrotic substances in vivo and in vitro. For evaluating the antifibrotic effect of CMCS and ergosterol, male C57BL/6 mice were injected intraperitoneally with carbon tetrachloride (CCl4) and treated with CMCS (120 mg/kg/d) or ergosterol (50 mg/kg/d). Four weeks later, serum liver function, hepatic hydroxyproline (Hyp) content, liver inflammation, collagen deposition, and expression of alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) in liver tissue were evaluated. Besides, toxicological effects of active compounds of CMCS on hepatocytes and hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) were detected and expressions of permeability of the lysosomal membrane, EdU, F-actin, and α-SMA of activated HSCs were analyzed to screen the antifibrotic substance in CMCS in vitro. Our results showed that CMCS could significantly alleviate levels of serum liver functions, attenuate hepatic inflammation, decrease collagen deposition, and relieve levels of α-SMA in liver, respectively. Ergosterol, the active compound in CMCS that was detected by HPLC, played a dose-dependent inhibition role on activated HSCs via upregulating expressions of permeability of the lysosomal membrane and downregulating levels of EdU, F-actin, and α-SMA on activated HSCs in vitro. Moreover, ergosterol revealed the antifibrotic effect alike in vivo. In conclusion, CMCS is effective in alleviating liver fibrosis induced by CCl4 and ergosterol might be the efficacious antifibrotic substance in CMCS in vivo and in vitro.