Anti-Inflammatory Effects of a Cordyceps sinensis Mycelium Culture Extract (Cs-4) on Rodent Models of Allergic Rhinitis and Asthma

Molecules. 2020 Sep 4;25(18):4051. doi: 10.3390/molecules25184051.


Allergic rhinitis and asthma are common chronic allergic diseases of the respiratory tract, which are accompanied by immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated inflammation and the involvement of type 2 T helper cells, mast cells, and eosinophils. Cordyceps sinensis (Berk.) Sacc is a fungal parasite on the larva of Lepidoptera. It has been considered to be a health-promoting food and, also, one of the best-known herbal remedies for the treatment of airway diseases, such as asthma and lung inflammation. In the present study, we demonstrated the antiallergic rhinitis effect of Cs-4, a water extract prepared from the mycelium culture of Cordyceps sinensis (Berk) Sacc, on ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic rhinitis in mice and the anti-asthmatic effect of Cs-4 in a rat model of asthma. Treatment with Cs-4 suppressed the nasal symptoms induced in OVA-sensitized and challenged mice. The inhibition was associated with a reduction in IgE/OVA-IgE and interleukin (IL)-4/IL-13 levels in the nasal fluid. Cs-4 treatment also decreased airway responsiveness and ameliorated the scratching behavior in capsaicin-challenged rats. It also reduced plasma IgE levels, as well as IgE and eosinophil peroxidase levels, in the bronchoalveolar fluid. Cs-4 treatment completely suppressed the increases in IL-4, IL-5, and IL-13 levels in rat lung tissue. In conclusion, our results suggest that Cs-4 has the potential to alleviate immune hypersensitivity reactions in allergic rhinitis and asthma.

Keywords: Cordyceps; allergic rhinitis; anti-inflammatory effect; asthma.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Asthma / blood
  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / physiopathology
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Bronchi / drug effects
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / blood
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / complications
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / drug therapy
  • Bronchial Hyperreactivity / physiopathology
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid
  • Capsaicin / pharmacology
  • Cordyceps / chemistry*
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Eosinophil Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Female
  • Histamine Release / drug effects
  • Immunization
  • Immunoglobulin E / blood
  • Mast Cells / drug effects
  • Mast Cells / metabolism
  • Methacholine Chloride / pharmacology
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mycelium / chemistry*
  • Nasal Lavage
  • Ovalbumin / immunology
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / blood
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / complications
  • Rhinitis, Allergic / drug therapy*
  • Skin / drug effects
  • Skin / pathology
  • Spleen / drug effects
  • Spleen / pathology
  • Trachea / drug effects
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases / metabolism


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Cytokines
  • Methacholine Chloride
  • Immunoglobulin E
  • Ovalbumin
  • Eosinophil Peroxidase
  • beta-N-Acetylhexosaminidases
  • Capsaicin