AIM: To investigate the preventive effect of Cordyceps sinensis (CS) and its possible mechanism on CCl 4-plus ethanol-induced hepatic fibrosis. METHODS: Rats were randomly allocated into a normal control group, a model control group and a CS group. The latter two groups were administered with CCl 4 and salad oil solution to induce hepatic fibrosis. The CS group was also treated with Cordyceps sinensis after 10 d from the beginning of CCl 4 and ethanol administration. At the end of wk 9, all rats in each group were killed. Blood and hepatic tissue specimens were taken. Biochemical, radioimmunological immunohistochemical and molecular biological examinations were used to determine the level change of ALT, AST, hyaluronic acid (HA), laminin(LN) content in serum and α-smooth muscle actin(α-SMA), transforming growth factor beta 1(TGFβ 1), Platelet derived growth factor (PDGF), collagen Ⅰ and Ⅲ expression in tissue at either protein or mRNA level or both two levels. RESULTS: Compared with model control group, serum HA, LN, AST, ALT, content levels were markedly decreased in CS group (202±s 79 vs 316±94; 50±3 vs 60±10; 86±34 vs 224±179; 147±60 vs 273±130; respectively, P<0.
05). Hepatic tissue expression of α-SMA, TGFβ 1 as well as its mRNA, collagen Ⅰ mRNA, were also markedly decreased (0.20± 0.14 vs 1.7±1.4; 1.7± 0.5 vs 3.2± 1.2; 1.1± 0.8 vs 2.6± 1.4; respectively, P< 0.05). More dramatical drop can be seen in PDGF expression (0.9± 0.4 vs 1.9± 0.7, P< 0.01). Although no any significant statistical result presented, it's still strongly suggested that collagen Ⅲ mRNA expression was also decreased in CS group compared with model control group (0.4± 0.3 vs 1.0± 0.7, P= 0.0744). Temporarily, no significant change can be found in PDGF mRNA expression between two groups (0.4± 0.3 vs 0.7± 0.5, P> 0.05). CONCLUSION:Cordyceps sinensis does have inhibitive effect on experimental hepatic fibrogenesis. Its possible mechanism may be inhibiting TGFβ 1 expression, and thereby, downregulating PDGF expression, preventing HSC activation and deposition of collagen Ⅰ and Ⅲ.