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J Pharmacol Sci. 2010;113(4):395-403.

Cordycepin prevents hyperlipidemia in hamsters fed a high-fat diet via activation of AMP-activated protein kinase.

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Pharmacolog and Toxicology Research Center, Institute of Medicinal Plant Development, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Peking Union Medical College, China.


Hyperlipidemia is a major risk factor for cardiovascular diseases. In this study, we investigated the potential effects of cordycepin (3'-deoxyadenosine), a bioactive component of the fungus Cordyceps militaris, on hyperlipidemia. We found that in male Syrian golden hamsters fed a high-fat diet (HFD), daily administration of cordycepin effectively reduced the accumulation of serum total cholesterol (TC), triglycerides (TG), and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) and suppressed HFD-associated increases in relative retroperitoneal fat. It also increased the levels of phospho-AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and phospho-acetyl-CoA carboxylase (phospho-ACC) in liver and retroperitoneal adipose tissues. In HepG2 cells, cordycepin stimulated robust concentration- and time-dependent AMPK activation that correlated with the activation of ACC and the suppression of lipid biosynthesis. However, pretreatment with compound C, a specific inhibitor of AMPK, substantially abolished the effects of cordycepin on AMPK activation and lipid biosynthesis inhibition. These results indicate that cordycepin prevents hyperlipidemia via activation of AMPK. Experiments on abnormal metabolic mice indicated that cordycepin can also improve insulin sensitivity effectively.

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