Study Title:

Reparative properties of the traditional Chinese medicine Cordyceps sinensis (Chinese caterpillar mu

Study Abstract

Cordyceps sinensis (CS) is a traditional Chinese medicine and health food used to support many organ systems. It is commercially produced by cultivation in a liquid medium or on a solid (grain/potato) phase. We tested the effects of hot water extracts of liquid-phase and solid-phase commercially grown CS on its ability to influence proliferation (using Alamar blue, an oxidation/reduction indicator), migration (serial-wounded monolayer photomicroscopy), invasion through collagen gel (fluorometric assay) and indomethacin-induced apoptosis (active caspase-3 colorimetric assay) of human colon cancer HT29 cells. An in vivo study used a rat gastric damage model (indomethacin 20 mg/kg and 4 h restraint with oral administration). The CS extract stimulated cell proliferation threefold when added at 10 μg/ml (P < 0·01). Cell migration increased by 69 % and invasion by 17 % when CS was added at 5 mg/ml (P < 0·01). The results also showed that 93 % of the pro-proliferative activity was soluble in ethanol, whereas pro-migratory activity was divided (61:49) into both ethanol-soluble and ethanol-insoluble sub-fractions. Indomethacin-induced apoptosis was not affected by the presence of CS. CS reduced the amount of gastric injury by 63 % when administered orally at 20 mg/ml (P < 0·01), the results being similar to using the potent cytoprotective agent epidermal growth factor at 25 μg/ml (83 % reduction). We conclude that both methods of cultivated CS possess biological activity when analysed using a variety of gut models of injury and repair. Functional foods, such as CS, could provide a novel approach for the prevention and treatment of injury to the bowel.

Study Information

Reparative properties of the traditional Chinese medicine Cordyceps sinensis (Chinese caterpillar mushroom) using HT29 cell culture and rat gastric damage models of injury.
Br J Nutr.
2011 May

Full Study