19 Nov 2012
Caterpillar fungi (Cordyceps) are rare parasites found on hibernating caterpillars in the mountains of Tibet. For centuries they have been highly prized as a traditional Chinese medicine – just a small amount can fetch hundreds of pounds.
Scientists at The University of Nottingham have been studying how this fungus could work by studying cordycepin, one of the drugs found in these mushrooms. They have already discovered that cordycepin has potential as a cancer drug. Their new work indicates that it could also have anti-inflammatory characteristics with the potential to help sufferers of asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, renal failure and stroke damage.
The research, published today in the academic journal RNA, was led by Dr Cornelia de Moor in the School of Pharmacy. It shows that cordycepin reduces inflammatory gene products in airway smooth muscle cells – the cells that contract during an asthma attack.
Several studies have suggested…
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