Cordycepin, an Active Constituent of Nutrient Powerhouse and Potential Medicinal Mushroom Cordyceps militaris Linn., Ameliorates Age-Related Testicular Dysfunction in Rats

Nutrients. 2019 Apr 23;11(4):906. doi: 10.3390/nu11040906.


Age-related male sexual dysfunction covers a wide variety of issues, together with spermatogenic and testicular impairment. In the present work, the effects of cordycepin (COR), an active constituent of a nutrient powerhouse Cordyceps militaris Linn, on senile testicular dysfunction in rats was investigated. The sperm kinematics, antioxidant enzymes, spermatogenic factors, sex hormone receptors, histone deacetylating sirtuin 1 (SIRT1), and autophagy-related mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) expression in aged rat testes were evaluated. Sprague Dawley rats were divided into young control (2-month-old; YC), aged control (12-month-old; AC), and aged plus COR-treated groups (5 (COR-5), 10 (COR-10), and 20 (COR-20) mg/kg). The AC group showed reduced sperm kinematics and altered testicular histomorphology compared with the YC group (p < 0.05). However, compared with the AC group, the COR-treated group exhibited improved sperm motility, progressiveness, and average path/straight line velocity (p < 0.05-0.01). Alterations in spermatogenesis-related protein and mRNA expression were significantly ameliorated (p < 0.05) in the COR-20 group compared with the AC group. The altered histone deacetylating SIRT1 and autophagy-related mTORC1 molecular expression in aged rats were restored in the COR-20 group (p < 0.05). In conclusion, the results suggest that COR holds immense nutritional potential and therapeutic value in ameliorating age-related male sexual dysfunctions.

Keywords: Cordycepin; SIRT1; antioxidant; mTORC1; sex hormone receptors; spermatogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Aging*
  • Animals
  • Cordyceps / chemistry*
  • Deoxyadenosines / administration & dosage
  • Deoxyadenosines / pharmacology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / genetics
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Androgen / genetics
  • Receptors, Androgen / metabolism
  • Receptors, FSH / genetics
  • Receptors, FSH / metabolism
  • Receptors, LH / genetics
  • Receptors, LH / metabolism
  • Sirtuin 1 / genetics
  • Sirtuin 1 / metabolism
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Testis / drug effects*
  • Transcription Factors / genetics
  • Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Deoxyadenosines
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Androgen
  • Receptors, FSH
  • Receptors, LH
  • Transcription Factors
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1
  • Sirt1 protein, rat
  • Sirtuin 1
  • cordycepin