Augmentation of various immune reactivities of tumor-bearing hosts with an extract of Cordyceps sinensis

Biotherapy. 1990;2(3):199-205. doi: 10.1007/BF02173520.


In order to enhance general reactivity of immune system in the tumor-bearing host, we employed extract of Cordyceps sinensis (CSE) as a biological response modifier. Cordyceps sinensis is an interesting material produced by a kind of mushroom parasitic to larval moths and was used to hasten recovery from exhaustion in ancient China. In this experiment, C57BL/6 mice implanted subcutaneously with syngeneic EL-4 lymphoma cells were employed as the host. Oral administration of the extract leads to a reduction of tumor size and prolongation of the host survival time. As judged by plaque-forming cells against T-dependent (sheep erythrocytes) and T-independent (bacterial lipopolysaccharide) antigens, CSE showed to augment the antibody responses. As for the activities of peritoneal macrophages, chemotaxis was dramatically depressed within a few days after EL-4 transplantation up to the end of life, but treatment with CSE at -14, -7, -4, +4, +7 and +10 days after the tumor transplantation augmented the activity about four times stronger than that of control. Phagocytic activity of macrophages was also decreased in tumor-bearing mice treated with cyclophosphamide (100 mg/kg) 3 and 5 days after tumor transplantation. But administration of CSE restored the activity to more than the normal level. The overall efficacy of CSE was tested with protective activity against systemic infection by Salmonella enteritides. The tumor-bearing mice receiving this medicine lived significantly longer than any other groups without CSE.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Combined Chemotherapy Protocols / pharmacology
  • B-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Basidiomycota
  • Chemotaxis / drug effects
  • Cyclophosphamide / administration & dosage
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / administration & dosage
  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal / pharmacology*
  • Erythrocytes / immunology
  • Female
  • Immunity, Cellular / drug effects*
  • Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Lymphoma / drug therapy*
  • Lymphoma / mortality
  • Lymphoma / pathology
  • Macrophages / immunology
  • Macrophages / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Phagocytosis / drug effects
  • Sheep / blood


  • Drugs, Chinese Herbal
  • Cyclophosphamide