Cordyceps sinensis (CS), an Ascomycetes fungus parasitic to Lepidoptera larvae, has been traditionally used as nutritious food for the enhancement on sexual performance and the restitution of impairment in sexual function in Chinese society. We have previously demonstrated the stimulatory effect of CS and its fractions on steroidogenesis both on primary mouse Leydig cells and MA-10 mouse Leydig tumor cells. In the present studies, we determined the in vivo effects of CS and its fractions on steroidogenesis in mouse. Different concentrations of CS and CS fractions (0.02 and 0.2 mg/g body weight) were fed to immature or mature mice from 1 to 7 days. The plasma levels of testosterone were evaluated by radioimmunoassay. The weights of reproductive organs were also determined. Results illustrated that CS significantly induced plasma testosterone levels both in immature and mature mice in 3 and/or 7 days treatment (p < 0.05). F2 and F3 at 0.02 and/or 0.2 mg/g body weight for different feeding duration could also significantly stimulated plasma testosterone levels both in immature and mature mice (p < 0.05). In general, CS, F2 and F3 didn't have considerable effect on the weights of reproductive organs. Taken together, these studies illustrate that CS and its fractions significantly stimulated in vivo mouse testosterone production.
Copyright 2004 Elsevier Inc.