Anti-inflammation activity of exopolysaccharides produced by a medicinal fungus Cordyceps sinensis Cs-HK1 in cell and animal models

Int J Biol Macromol. 2020 Apr 15:149:1042-1050. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2020.02.022. Epub 2020 Feb 5.


This study was to assess the anti-inflammatory potential of exopolysaccharide (EPS) produced by a medicinal fungus Cordyceps sinensis Cs-HK1. The EPS was isolated from the Cs-HK1 mycelial fermentation broth by ethanol precipitation and purified by deproteinization and dialysis. The EPS had a total sugar content of 74.8% and a maximum average molecular weight (MW) over 107 Da, and consisted mainly of glucose and mannose, and a small amount of galactose and ribose. In THP-1 and RAW264.7 cell cultures, EPS significantly inhibited lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced inflammatory responses of the cells including the release of NF-κB and several pro-inflammatory factors such as NO, TNF-α and IL-1β. In the murine model of LPS-induced acute intestinal injury, the oral administration of EPS to the animals effectively suppressed the expression of major inflammatory cytokines TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-10 and iNOS and alleviated the intestinal injury. The results suggest that the Cs-HK1 EPS has notable anti-inflammatory activity and can be a potential candidate for further development of new anti-septic therapeutics. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report on the anti-inflammation of an EPS from C. sinensis fungal fermentation.

Keywords: Anti-inflammation; Cordyceps sinensis fungus; Cytokines; Exopolysaccharide; LPS-induced intestinal injury; THP-1 cell.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cell Survival / drug effects
  • Cordyceps / chemistry*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / pathology
  • Inhibitory Concentration 50
  • Intestines / drug effects
  • Intestines / pathology
  • Lipopolysaccharides / pharmacology
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Molecular Weight
  • Nitric Oxide / biosynthesis
  • Polysaccharides / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform Infrared
  • THP-1 Cells


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Lipopolysaccharides
  • Polysaccharides
  • Nitric Oxide