Polysaccharides from the Medicinal Mushroom Cordyceps taii Show Antioxidant and Immunoenhancing Activities in a D-Galactose-Induced Aging Mouse Model

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012;2012:273435. doi: 10.1155/2012/273435. Epub 2012 Mar 29.


Cordyceps taii, an edible medicinal mushroom native to south China, is recognized as an unparalleled resource of healthy foods and drug discovery. In the present study, the antioxidant pharmacological properties of C. taii were systematically investigated. In vitro assays revealed the scavenging activities of the aqueous extract and polysaccharides of C. taii against various free radicals, that is, 1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl radical, hydroxyl radical, and superoxide anion radical. The EC(50) values for superoxide anion-free radical ranged from 2.04 mg/mL to 2.49 mg/mL, which was at least 2.6-fold stronger than that of antioxidant thiourea. The polysaccharides also significantly enhanced the antioxidant enzyme activities (superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase) and markedly decreased the malondialdehyde production of lipid peroxidation in a D-galactose-induced aging mouse model. Interestingly, the immune function of the administration group was significantly boosted compared with the D-galactose-induced aging model group. Therefore, the C. taii polysaccharides possessed potent antioxidant activity closely associated with immune function enhancement and free radical scavenging. These findings suggest that the polysaccharides are a promising source of natural antioxidants and antiaging drugs. Consequently, a preliminary chemical investigation was performed using gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy and revealed that the polysaccharides studied were mainly composed of glucose, mannose, and galactose. Fourier-transform infrared spectra also showed characteristic polysaccharide absorption bands.