Cordyceps inhibits ceramide biosynthesis and improves insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis

Article: Cordyceps inhibits ceramide biosynthesis and improves insulin resistance and hepatic steatosis

Authors: Ying Li, Chad Lamar Talbot, Bhawna Chandravanshi, Alec Ksiazek, Ayushi Sood, Kamrul Hasan Chowdhury, J Alan Maschek, James Cox, Adhini Kuppuswamy Satheesh Babu, Henry A Paz, Pon Velayutham Anandh Babu, David K Meyerholz, Umesh D Wankhade, William Holland, E Shyong Tai, Scott A Summers, Bhagirath Chaurasia

Journal: Sci Rep. 2022 May 4;12(1):7273

Ectopic ceramide accumulation in insulin-responsive tissues contributes to the development of obesity and impairs insulin sensitivity. Moreover, pharmacological inhibition of serine palmitoyl transferase (SPT), the first enzyme essential for ceramide biosynthesis using myriocin in rodents reduces body weight and improves insulin sensitivity and associated metabolic indices. Myriocin was originally extracted from fruiting bodies of the fungus Isaria sinclairii and has been found abundant in a number of closely related fungal species such as the Cordyceps. Myriocin is not approved for human use but extracts from Cordyceps are routinely consumed as part of traditional Chinese medication for the treatment of numerous diseases including diabetes. Herein, we screened commercially available extracts of Cordyceps currently being consumed by humans, to identify Cordyceps containing myriocin and test the efficacy of Cordyceps extract containing myriocin in obese mice to improve energy and glucose homeostasis. We demonstrate that commercially available Cordyceps contain variable amounts of myriocin and treatment of mice with a human equivalent dose of Cordyceps extract containing myriocin, reduces ceramide accrual, increases energy expenditure, prevents diet-induced obesity, improves glucose homeostasis and resolves hepatic steatosis. Mechanistically, these beneficial effects were due to increased adipose tissue browning/beiging, improved brown adipose tissue function and hepatic insulin sensitivity as well as alterations in the abundance of gut microbes such as Clostridium and Bilophila. Collectively, our data provide proof-of-principle that myriocin containing Cordyceps extract inhibit ceramide biosynthesis and attenuate metabolic impairments associated with obesity. Moreover, these studies identify commercially available Cordyceps as a readily available supplement to treat obesity and associated metabolic diseases.

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