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Effect of Cordyceps militaris extract on T-lymphocyte, Th2, and Th17 cytokines in vitro and in vivo

Urairat Mongmonsin1, Prapenpuksiri Rungsa2, Withan Teajaroen1, Theerasak Somdee3, Jureerut Daduang4, Sakda Daduang2,5*

1Department of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Graduate School, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

2Protein and Proteomics Research Center for Commercial and Industrial Purposes (ProCCI), Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

3Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Science, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

4Department of Clinical Chemistry, Faculty of Associated Medical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand

5Division of Pharmacognosy and Toxicology, Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Khon Kaen University, Khon Kaen, Thailand


Cordyceps militaris has been used in traditional medicine due to its immune-boosting functions, especially in elderly and cancer patients. The study aims to assess the impact of C. militaris extract on the immune response in LPS-induced splenocytes and male Sprague Dawley rats. The study found that CME contains various bioactive compounds such as adenosine, cordycepin (3′ deoxyadenosine), and phenolic compounds. In vitro studies showed that CME has the potential to enhance CD3+ T cell and CD45RA+ B cell populations in LPS-induced splenocytes with a cell viability of over 80%. Moreover, we found that CME can enhance the immune response in rats by increasing CD3+ T cell proliferation and up-regulating IL-4, IL-6, and IL-17a expression, without affecting the rat’s body weight. The findings suggest that CME could be a promising immune enhancer for patients with weakened immune systems. However, further animal experiments with varying doses are essential to determine the optimal dosage for the successful development of CME as a therapeutic agent.

Keywords: Cordyceps militaris, Immunostimulatory effects, Pro-inflammatory cytokines, Cordycepin

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