Cardiovascular protection and antioxidant activity of the extracts from the mycelia of Cordyceps sinensis act partially via adenosine receptors

Phytother Res. 2013 Nov;27(11):1597-604. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4899. Epub 2012 Nov 28.


Mycelia of cultured Cordyceps sinensis (CS) is one of the most common substitutes for natural CS and was approved for arrhythmia in China. However, the role of CS in ameliorating injury during ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) is still unclear. We examined effects of extracts from CS on I/R and investigated the possible mechanisms. Post-ischemic coronary perfusion pressure, ventricular function, and coronary flow were measured using the Langendorff mouse heart model. Oxidative stress of cardiac homogenates was performed using an ELISA. Our results indicate that CS affords cardioprotection possibly through enhanced adenosine receptor activation. Cardioprotection was demonstrated by reduced post-ischemic diastolic dysfunction and improved recovery of pressure development and coronary flow. Treatment with CS largely abrogates oxidative stress and damage in glucose- or pyruvate-perfused hearts. Importantly, observed reductions in oxidative stress [glutathione disulfide (GSSG)]/[GSSG + glutathione] and [malondialdehyde (MDA)]/[superoxide dismutase + MDA] ratios as well as the resultant damage upon CS treatment correlate with functional markers of post-ischemic myocardial outcome. These effects of CS were partially blocked by 8-ρ-sulfophenyltheophylline, an adenosine receptor antagonist. Our results demonstrate a suppressive role of CS in ischemic contracture. Meanwhile, the results also suggest pre-ischemic adenosine receptor activation may be involved in reducing contracture in hearts pretreated with CS.

Keywords: Cordyceps sinensis; adenosine receptor; antioxidant stress; ischemia-reperfusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cordyceps / chemistry*
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Glutathione Disulfide / metabolism
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Malondialdehyde / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mycelium / chemistry
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / metabolism*
  • Reperfusion Injury / drug therapy*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism
  • Theophylline / analogs & derivatives
  • Theophylline / pharmacology


  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • Malondialdehyde
  • 8-(4-sulfophenyl)theophylline
  • Theophylline
  • Superoxide Dismutase
  • Glutathione
  • Glutathione Disulfide