Cordyceps Mushrooms (Cordyceps Militaris)
Increased glucose metabolism and alpha-glucosidase inhibition in Cordyceps militaris water extract-treated HepG2 cells
Recent living condition improvements, changes in dietary habits, and reductions in physical activity are contributing to an increase in metabolic syndrome symptoms including diabetes and obesity. Through such societal developments, humankind is continuously exposed to metabolic diseases such as diabetes, and the number of the victims is increasing. This study investigated Cordyceps militaris water extract (CMW)-induced glucose uptake in HepG2 cells and the effect of CMW treatment on glucose metabolism.
Based on the above results, we conclude that for its induction of glucose uptake in liver cells, CMW stimulates the expression of HNF-1α to activate GLUT2. The glucose supplied into cells is metabolized through glycolysis stimulation, following CMW-induced AMPK phosphorylation and gluconeogenesis inhibition activities. It then produces energy or converted into glycogen for storage. This implies that CMW is a potential candidate material for use in the control of blood sugar levels, as it stimulates the absorption and metabolism of glucose in liver cells. Further experiments into the effects of CMW on the insulin-independent signaling mechanism, along with studies using an experiment model with induced insulin resistance, will determine the value of this fungal extract as a hypoglycemic functional material.
Cordyceps militaris improves tolerance to high intensity exercise after acute and chronic supplementation
To determine the effects of a mushroom blend containing cordyceps militaris on high intensity exercise after 1- and 3-weeks of supplementation. Twenty-eight individuals (Mean ± SD; Age=22.7 ± 4.1 yrs; Height=175.4 ± 8.7 cm; Weight=71.6 ± 12.0 kg) participated in this randomized, repeated measures, double-blind, placebo-controlled design. Maximal oxygen consumption (VO2max), time to exhaustion (TTE), and ventilatory threshold (VT) were measured during a maximal graded exercise test on a cycle ergometer. Relative peak power output (RPP), average power output (AvgP), and percent drop (%drop) were recorded during a 3-minute maximal cycle test with resistance at 4.5% body weight. Subjects consumed 4 g·d−1 mushroom blend (MR) or maltodextrin (PL) for 1 week. Ten volunteers supplemented for an additional 2 weeks. Exercise tests were separated by at least 48-hours and repeated following supplementation periods. One week of supplementation elicited no significant time × treatment interaction for VO2max (p=0.364), VT (p=0.514), TTE (p=0.540), RPP (p=0.134), AvgP (p=0.398), or %drop (p=0.823). After 3-weeks, VO2max significantly improved (p=0.042) in MR (+4.8 ml·kg−1·min−1), but not PL (+0.9 ml·kg−1·min−1). Analysis of 95% confidence intervals revealed significant improvements in TTE after 1- (+28.1 s) and 3-weeks (+69.8 s) in MR, but not PL, with additional improvements in VO2max (+4.8 ml·kg−1·min−1) and VT (+0.7 l·min−1) after 3-weeks. Acute supplementation with a cordyceps militaris containing mushroom blend may improve tolerance to high intensity exercise; greater benefits may be elicited with consistent chronic supplementation.
In conclusion, one week of supplementation with a cordyceps militaris containing mushroom blend had minimal benefits to high intensity aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Greater benefits may be elicited with longer supplementation, with potential improvements in oxygen consumption, ventilatory threshold, time to exhaustion, and relative peak power output at a dosage of 4 g·d−1. Future studies should aim to establish dosage for maximal ergogenic benefits.
Cordyceps militaris induces tumor cell death via the caspase-dependent mitochondrial pathway in HepG2 and MCF-7 cells
Cordyceps militaris (CM), an entomopathogenic fungus belonging to the class ascomycetes, possesses various pharmacological activities, including cytotoxic effects, on various types of human tumor cells. The present study investigated the anti-hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and anti-breast cancer effects of CM in in vitro and in vivo models. CM aqueous extract reduced cell viability, suppressed cell proliferation, inhibited cell migration ability, caused the over-release of lactate dehydrogenase, induced mitochondrial dysfunction and enhanced apoptotic rates in MCF-7 and HepG2 cells. The expression levels of cleaved poly (ADP ribose) polymerase and caspase-3, biomarkers of apoptosis, were increased following treatment with CM aqueous extract for 24 h. Furthermore, in the MCF-7 and HepG2 cells, enhanced levels of B cell-associated X protein and cleaved caspase-8 were observed in the CM-treated cells. Finally, the antitumor activities of CM in HCC and breast cancer were also confirmed in MCF-7- and HepG2-xengraft nude mice models. Collectively, the data obtained in the present study suggested that the cytotoxic effects of CM aqueous extract on HCC and breast cancer are associated with the caspase-dependent mitochondrial pathway.
In conclusion, the present study confirmed the anti-HCC and anti-breast cancer effects of CM aqueous extract in in vitro and in vivo experiments. CM leads to the over-release of LDH, dissipation of Δψm and abnormal expression of pro-apoptotic proteins. The caspase-dependent mitochondrial pathway contributed to CM-induced cytotoxicity in the MCF-7 and HepG2 cells. These findings provide pharmacological evidence that CM possesses antitumor effects in HCC and breast cancer, offering potential as a chemotherapeutic agent.