Immunomodulatory activities of HERBSnSENSES Cordyceps -- in vitro and in vivo studies

Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2006;28(2):341-60. doi: 10.1080/08923970600809470.


The commercially available HERBSnSENSEStrade mark Cordyceps (HSCS) belongs to a cultivated strain of Cordyceps sinensis whose immunomodulatory activities has been renowned in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for centuries. The present report is the first that describes its immunomodulatory features through a series of in vitro and in vivo experiments. We measured, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells the in vitro effects of HSCS on the gene expression of cytokines and cytokine receptors, cytokine release, and surface expression of cytokine receptors using cDNA expression array, cytometric bead array (CBA), and immunoflorescence staining, respectively, as well as macrophage phagocytosis and monocyte production of H2O2 using flow cytometry. Sixty female BALB/c mice were fed with either HSCS (40 mg/kg/day) or water consecutively for 14 days. Proliferation, cytokine liberation, and CD3/4/8 expression of splenic cells were measured using 5-bromo-2'-deoxyuridine proliferation ELISA, CBA, and cytometry immunoflorescence staining, respectively. In vitro results demonstrated that HSCS induced the production of interleukin(IL)-1beta, IL-6, IL-10 and tumor necrosis factor alphaalpha from PBMC, augmented surface expression of CD25 on lymphocytes, and elevated macrophage phagocytosis and monocyte production of H2O2. In vivo results showed that HSCS did not induce splenomegaly and cytokine overliberation. Our results possibly provide the biochemical basis for future clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Complex Mixtures / pharmacology*
  • Cordyceps* / chemistry
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / immunology
  • Immunologic Factors / pharmacology*
  • Lymphocytes / cytology
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Macrophages / cytology
  • Macrophages / immunology*
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis


  • Complex Mixtures
  • Immunologic Factors