Effects of Cordyceps sinensis on testosterone production in normal mouse Leydig cells

Life Sci. 2001 Oct 19;69(22):2593-602. doi: 10.1016/s0024-3205(01)01339-x.


The stimulatory effect of Cordyceps sinensis (CS) on MA-10 mouse Leydig tumor cell steroidogenesis was previously demonstrated in our laboratory. In the present studies, we further determined the effect of CS on steroidogenesis in purified normal mouse Leydig cells. Different concentrations of CS (0.1-10 mg/ml) were added to Leydig cells without or with human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) (50 ng/ml), and the steroid production was determined by radioimmunoassay (RIA). The results illustrated that CS stimulated normal mouse Leydig cell steroidogenesis in a dose-dependent relationship. CS at 3 mg/ml significantly stimulated testosterone production (p<0.05). Concerning the temporal relationship, CS at 3 mg/ml stimulated maximal testosterone production between 2 to 3 hr. Interestingly, hCG-stimulated testosterone productions were suppressed by CS in a dose-dependent relationship. CS also reduced dbcAMP-stimulated testosterone productions, which indicated that CS affected signal transduction pathway of steroidogenesis after the formation of cyclic AMP. Moreover, cycloheximide inhibited CS-treated mouse Leydig cell testosterone production, suggesting that new protein synthesis was required for CS-stimulated steroidogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bucladesine / pharmacology
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chorionic Gonadotropin / pharmacology
  • Cycloheximide / pharmacology
  • Drug Interactions
  • Humans
  • Hypocreales / chemistry*
  • Leydig Cells / drug effects*
  • Leydig Cells / metabolism
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Testosterone / metabolism*


  • Chorionic Gonadotropin
  • Protein Synthesis Inhibitors
  • Testosterone
  • Bucladesine
  • Cycloheximide