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Life Sci. 2003 Sep 26;73(19):2503-13.

A polysaccharide isolated from Cordyceps sinensis, a traditional Chinese medicine, protects PC12 cells against hydrogen peroxide-induced injury.

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Institute of Chinese Medical Sciences, University of Macau, Taipa, Macau, China.


Cordyceps sinensis, a well-known traditional Chinese medicine, possesses activities in anti-tumour, anti-oxidation and stimulating the immune system; however, the identity of active component(s) is not determined. By using anti-oxidation activity-guided fractionation, a polysaccharide of molecular weight approximately 210 kDa was isolated from cultured Cordyceps mycelia by ion-exchange and sizing chromatography. The isolated polysaccharide, having strong anti-oxidation activity, contains glucose, mannose and galactose in a ratio of 1 : 0.6 : 0.75. The pre-treatment of isolated polysaccharide on the cultured rat pheochromocytoma PC12 cells shows strong protective effect against hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2))-induced insult. Treatment of the cells with the isolated polysaccharide at 100 microg/ml prior to H(2)O(2) exposure significantly elevated the survival of PC12 cells in culture by over 60%. In parallel, the H(2)O(2)-induced production of malondialdehyde in cultured cells was markedly reduced by the polysaccharide treatment. Moreover, the pre-treatment of the isolated polysaccharide significantly attenuated the changes of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase activities in H(2)O(2)-treated cells in a dose-dependent manner. This is the first report in identifying a polysaccharide from Cordyceps, which protects against the free radical-induced neuronal cell toxicity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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