Several studies have been shown that accelerated apoptosis is involved in post-exercise lymphocytopenia and tissue damage after high-intensity exercise. Ganoderma tsugae
(GT) is one of the well-known medicinal mushrooms that possess various pharmacological functions. This mushroom has traditionally been used for health promotion purposes. This study investigates the hepatoprotective effects of GT on exhaustive exercise-induced liver damage. Twenty-four male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into four groups and designated as exhaustive exercise only (E), exhaustive exercise with low dosage (EL), medium dosage (EM) and high dosage (EH) GT at 0, 0.1875, 0.9375 and 1.875 g/kg/day, respectively. After 30 days all rats were euthanized immediately after an exhaustive running challenge on a motorized treadmill. The rat livers were immediately harvested. Evidence of apoptotic liver cell death was revealed using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) assay and caspases mediated cascade events. DNA fragmentation, an apoptosis process, can be examined using TUNEL assay. A few TUNEL-positive hepatocytes, compared to the exercise only group, were observed in the livers from exhaustive animals supplemented with GT. Immunoblot analysis also showed that caspase-6-mediated specific cleavage of lamin A/C was increased significantly in the livers of group E, but was significantly decreased in the EM and EH groups. Our observations demonstrate that GT possesses anti-apoptotic and hepatoprotective potential after exhaustive exercise.