Cordycepin inhibits lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation by the suppression of NF-κB through Akt and p38 inhibition in RAW 264.7 macrophage cells

Ho Gyoung Kim, Bhushan Shrestha, So Yeon Lim, Deok Hyo Yoon, Woo Chul Chang, Dong Jik Shin, Sang Kuk Han, Sang Min Park, Jung Hee Park, Hae Il Park, Jae Mo Sung, Yangsoo Jang, Namsik Chung, Ki Chul Hwang, Tae Woong Kim

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276 Citations (Scopus)


Cordyceps militaris, a caterpillar-grown traditional medicinal mushroom, produces an important bioactive compound, cordycepin (3′-deoxyadenosine). Cordycepin is reported to possess many pharmacological activities including immunological stimulating, anti-cancer, anti-virus and anti-infection activities. The molecular mechanisms of cordycepin on pharmacological and biochemical actions of macrophages in inflammation have not been clearly elucidated yet. In the present study, we tested the role of cordycepin on the anti-inflammation cascades in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-stimulated RAW 264.7 macrophage cells. In LPS-activated macrophage, nitric oxide (NO) production was inhibited by butanol fraction of C. militaris and the major component of C. militaris butanol faction was identified as cordycepin by high performance liquid chromatography. To investigate the mechanism by which cordycepin inhibits NO production and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) expression, we examined the activation of Akt and MAP kinases in LPS-activated macrophage. Cordycepin markedly inhibited the phosphorylation of Akt and p38 in dose-dependent manners in LPS-activated macrophage. Moreover, cordycepin suppressed tumor necrosis factor (TNF-α) expression, IκB alpha phosphorylation, and translocation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). The expressions of cycloxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) were significantly decreased in RAW 264.7 cell by cordycepin. Taken together, these results suggest that cordycepin inhibits the production of NO production by down-regulation of iNOS and COX-2 gene expression via the suppression of NF-κB activation, Akt and p38 phosphorylation. Thus, cordycepin may provide a potential therapeutic approach for inflammation-associated disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-199
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Sept 18

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Regional Innovation which was conducted by the Ministry of Commerce Industry and Energy, and BioGreen 21 Program, Rural Development Administration, Republic of Korea.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pharmacology


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