Effects of Cordyceps Militaris Extract on Tumor Immunity

Effects of Cordyceps Militaris Extract on Tumor Immunity

Jae-Won Ha, Hwa-Seung Yoo, Jang-Woo Shin, Jung-Hyo Cho, Nan-Heon Lee,
Dam-Hee Yoon, Yeon-Weol Lee, Chang-Gue Son, Chong-Kwan Cho

Department of East-West Cancer Center,
Dunsan Oriental Hospital of Daejeon University, Korea

Background and Aims Even though various strategies for cancer treatment have advanced with the remarkable development of genomic information and technology, it is far from giving relief to cancer patients. Recently there is accumulating evidence that the immune system is closely connected to anti-tumor defense mechanisms in a multistage process. This includes tumorigenesis, invasion, growth and metastasis. Cordyceps Militaris, a well-known oriental herbal medicine, is a parasitic fungus that has been used as an immune enhancing agent for a long period of time. However, little is known about the cancer-related immunomodulatory effects and anti-tumor activities. In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effects of Cordyceps Militaris extract (CME) on immune modulating and anti-tumor activity.
Materials and Methods To elucidate the effects of CME on macrophage and natural killer (NK) cell activity, we analyzed nitric oxide (NO) production, NK cytotoxicity and gene expression of cytokines related with macrophages and NK cell activity. Results and Conclusions CME activated and promoted macrophage production of NO. It also enhanced gene expression of IL-1 and iNOS in RAW 264.7 cells. CME promoted cytotoxicity of NK cells against YAC-1 cells and enhanced NK cell related gene expression such as IL-1, IL-2, IL-12, iNOS, IFN- and TNF- in mice splenocytes. It also promoted protein expression of IL-10, IL-12, IFN- and TNF- in mice splenocytes and inhibited lung tumor metastasis induced by CT-26 cell line compared with the control group. From these results, it could be concluded that CME is an effective herbal drug for modulating the immune system and anti-cancer treatment by promoting macrophage and NK cell activity.

Key Words : Cordyceps Militaris, immune modulating activity, anti-tumor activity

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