Cordyceps sinensis mycelium induces MA-10 mouse Leydig tumor cell apoptosis by activating the caspase-8 pathway and suppressing the NF-kappaB pathway

Arch Androl. 2006 Mar-Apr;52(2):103-10. doi: 10.1080/01485010500315818.


Cordyceps sinensis has been used as nutritious food and medicine in Chinese society. CS can inhibit tumor growth and induce tumor cell apoptosis. CS induced MA-10 mouse Leydig tumor cell death, but the anti-tumor mechanisms are not fully understood. Thus, the aim of this study was to investigate the apoptotic effect of CS on MA-10 cells and determine the molecular mechanism. CS (2-10 mg/ml) was added to MA-10 cells at different time scales (0-24 h). The condensation of DNA chromatin and apoptotic nuclear fragmentation increased in CS-treated MA-10 cells. Western blot analysis showed that 3 hours of CS treatment caused an increase in caspase-3 and -8 expressions only, which provided further evidence for the involvement of caspase-3 and -8 in CS-induced MA-10-cell apoptosis. CS blocked NF-?B protein expression in a dose-dependent relationship. CS induces MA-10 cell apoptosis by activating caspase-8-dependent and caspase-9-independent pathways and downregulating NF-?B protein expression.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Biological Products / pharmacology*
  • Biological Products / therapeutic use
  • Caspase 8
  • Caspases / metabolism
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cordyceps*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Leydig Cell Tumor / drug therapy*
  • Leydig Cell Tumor / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mycelium
  • NF-kappa B / metabolism


  • Biological Products
  • NF-kappa B
  • Casp8 protein, mouse
  • Caspase 8
  • Caspases