Glucose-lowering and hypolipidemic activities of polysaccharides from Cordyceps taii in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019 Aug 23;19(1):230. doi: 10.1186/s12906-019-2646-x.


Background: Hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia are classic features of patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). Cordyceps taii, a folk medicinal fungus native to southern China, possesses various pharmacological activities. This study aimed to assess the glucose-lowering and hypolipidemic effects of polysaccharides from C. taii (CTP) in streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic mice.

Methods: Kunming mice were intraperitoneally injected with STZ at a dose of 100 mg/kg body weight. After induction of diabetes, diabetic mice were randomly divided into five groups: diabetic mellitus group (DM), metformin-treated group, low, medium, and high-dose CTP-treated group (CTP-L, CTP-M, and CTP-H). Normal mice served as the control group. After treatment for 28 days, body weight, fasting serum insulin (FSI), fasting blood glucose (FBG), homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance (HOMA-IR), triglyceride (TG), total cholesterol (TC), low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (LDL-C), high-density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), interleukin-6 (IL-6), and C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were measured. Histological analysis of pancreatic tissue and immune organ indices was also performed to evaluate the anti-diabetes effect of CTP. SPSS (version 21.0) software was used for statistical analysis, and statistical differences were considered significant at p < 0.05.

Results: Compared with the DM group, the body weight and FSI level of CTP-H group increased by 36.13 and 32.47%, whereas the FBG and HOMA-IR decreased by 56.79 and 42.78%, respectively (p < 0.05). Histopathological examination of the pancreas revealed that CTP improved and repaired the impaired islet β-cells in pancreatic tissue. Compared with the DM group, the levels of TC, TG, and LDL-C decreased by 13.84, 31.87, and 36.61%, whereas that of HDL-C increased by 28.60% in CTP-H (p < 0.05). Further study showed that the thymus index in CTP-H was elevated by approximately 54.96%, and the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-6, and CRP was inhibited by approximately 19.97, 34.46, and 35.41%, respectively (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: The anti-diabetes effect of CTP is closely associated with immunoregulation and anti-inflammation, and CTP may be considered as a therapeutic drug or functional food for DM intervention.

Keywords: Cordyceps taii; Diabetes mellitus; Glucose-lowering effect; Hypolipidemia; Polysaccharides.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Cholesterol / blood
  • Cordyceps / chemistry*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Experimental / metabolism*
  • Fungal Polysaccharides / chemistry
  • Fungal Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / chemistry
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Chinese Traditional
  • Mice
  • Streptozocin


  • Blood Glucose
  • Fungal Polysaccharides
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Hypolipidemic Agents
  • Streptozocin
  • Cholesterol