Immunomodulatory functions of extracts from the Chinese medicinal fungus Cordyceps cicadae

J Ethnopharmacol. 2002 Nov;83(1-2):79-85. doi: 10.1016/s0378-8741(02)00212-x.


The effects of Cordyceps cicadae extracted fractions on human mononuclear cells (HMNC) proliferation were determined by tritiated thymidine uptake. The results indicated that aqueous methanol (50%) extracts of C. cicadae ascocarps portion (CC-1-2) enhanced HMNC proliferation activated with phytohemagglutinin (PHA) with an EC(50) of 13.8+/-4.6 micro g/ml. By contrast, the methanol (100%) extracts of C. cicadae insect-body portion (CC-2-1) suppressed HMNC proliferation stimulated by PHA with an IC(50) of 32.5+/-5.2 micro g/ml. Cell viability test indicated that inhibitory effects of CC-2-1 on HMNC proliferation were not through direct cytotoxicity. The action mechanisms of CC-1-2 and CC-2-1 may involve the regulation of interleukin-2 (IL-2) and interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production in HMNC. Since CC-2-1 suppressed IL-2 and IFN-gamma production in HMNC induced with PHA. The CC-1-2 enhanced IL-2 and IFN-gamma production of HMNC stimulated with PHA in a concentration dependent manner. Therefore, the results demonstrated that C. cicadae contained growth modulators for HMNC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / administration & dosage
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / pharmacology
  • Adjuvants, Immunologic / therapeutic use*
  • Adult
  • Cell Line / drug effects
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cordyceps*
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-2 / metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Male
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / administration & dosage
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*


  • Adjuvants, Immunologic
  • Cytokines
  • Interleukin-2
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Interferon-gamma