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Apr 23, 2020


The team led by Professor Yang Baoxue, director of the Department of Pharmacology, Peking University School of Basic Medical Sciences, published two papers in the “Acta Pharmacologica Sinica” at the end of 2019 and early 2020, confirming that Ganoderic acid A, as the main active ingredient of Ganoderma lucidum, has the effect on delaying renal fibrosis and polycystic kidney disease.

Ganoderic A retarded the progression of renal fibrosis 

Ganoderic A

The researchers surgically ligated unilateral ureters of the mice. After 14 days, the mice developed kidney tubules damage and kidney fibrosis due to blocked urine excretion. Meanwhile, the elevated blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine (Cr) indicated the impairment of kidney function.

However, if the mice were given an intraperitoneal injection of ganoderic acid at a daily dose of 50 mg/kg immediately after unilateral ureteral ligation, the degree of kidney tubules damage, renal fibrosis or renal function impairment after 14 days was significantly less than in mice without Ganoderma protection.

The ganoderic acid used in the experiment was a mixture containing at least a dozen different kinds of ganoderic acids, of which the most abundant were ganoderic acid A (16.1%), ganoderic acid B (10.6%) and ganoderic acid C2 (5.4%).

In vitro cell experiments showed that ganoderic acid A (100μg/mL) had the best inhibitory effect on renal fibrosis among the three, even had a better effect than the original ganoderic acid mixture and had no toxic effect on renal cells. Therefore, the researchers believed that ganoderic acid A should be the main source of activity of Reishi mushroom in delaying renal fibrosis.

Ganoderic acid A retards the progression of polycystic kidney disease

Ganoderic acid A

Unlike the etiological factor of renal fibrosis, polycystic kidney disease is caused by a mutation in a gene on the chromosome. Ninety percent of the disease is inherited and usually begins around the age of forty. The vesicles of the kidneys of the patient will grow larger as time goes on, which will squeeze and destroy normal kidney tissue and damage kidney function.

In the face of this irreversible disease, delaying the deterioration of renal function has become the most important therapeutic goal. Yang’s team published a report in the medical journal named Kidney International at the end of 2017, confirming that Ganoderma lucidum triterpenes have the effect of delaying the onset of polycystic kidney disease and alleviating the syndrome of polycystic Kidney disease.

However, there are many types of Lingzhi triterpenes. Which type of triterpene plays a key role in this? In order to find out the answer, they tested various Ganoderma triterpenes including ganoderic acid A, B, C2, D, F, G, T, DM and ganoderenic acid A, B, D, F.

In vitro experiments showed that none of the 12 triterpenes affected the survival of kidney cells, and the safety was almost at the same level, but there were significant differences in inhibiting the growth of renal vesicles, among which the triterpene with the best effect was ganoderic acid A.

From the development of renal fibrosis to renal failure, it can be said that it is the result of a variety of causes (such as diabetes).

For patients with polycystic kidney disease, the rate of decline in renal function may be faster. According to statistics, about half of patients with polycystic kidney disease will deteriorate to renal failure around the age of 60, and they must receive kidney dialysis for life.

Professor Yang Baoxue’s team has passed cell and animal experiments to prove that ganoderic acid A, the highest proportion of Ganoderma triterpenes, is an index component of Ganoderma lucidum for kidney protection.

Of course, this is not to say that only ganoderic acid A in Ganoderma lucidum can protect the kidneys. In fact, other ingredients are certainly of help. For example, another paper published by Professor Yang Baoxue on the topic of kidney protection also pointed out that Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide extract can reduce the oxidative damage received by kidney tissue through the antioxidant effect.Ganoderma lucidum triterpenoids, which contains various triterpene compounds such as ganoderic acid, ganoderenic acid and ganederol work together to delay renal fibrosis and polycystic kidney disease.

What’s more, the need to protect the kidney is not just for protecting the kidney itself. Others such as regulating immunity, improving three highs, balancing endocrine, soothing the nerves and improving sleep will certainly help kidney protection, which cannot be realized only through ganoderic acid A.

Ganoderma lucidum is distinguished by its various ingredients and functions, which can coordinate with each other to find the best balance for the body. That is to say, for kidney protection, if Ganoderic acid A is missing, the effectiveness of Ganoderma triterpenes will be obviously reduced.
1.   Geng XQ, et al. Ganoderic acid hinders renal fibrosis via suppressing the TGF-β/Smad and MAPK signaling pathways. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2019 Dec 5. doi: 10.1038/s41401-019-0324-7.
2.   Meng J, et al. Ganoderic acid A is the effective ingredient of Ganoderma triterpenes in retarding renal cyst development in polycystic kidney disease.Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2020 Jan 7. doi: 10.1038/s41401-019-0329-2.
3.   Su L, et al. Ganoderma triterpenes retard renal cyst development by downregulating Ras/MAPK signaling and promoting cell differentiation. Kidney Int. 2017 Dec; 92(6):1404-1418. doi: 10.1016/j.kint.2017.04.013.
4.   Zhong D, et al. Ganoderma lucidum polysaccharide peptide prevents renal ischemia reperfusion injury via counteracting oxidative stress.Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 25; 5:16910. doi: 10.1038/srep16910.
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