Enhancement of tyrosine hydroxylase expression by Cordyceps militaris

Kumar Sapkota 1 , Seung Kim, Young Park 3 , Bong-Suk Choi, Se-Eun Park and Sung-Jun Kim
  • 1 Department of Biotechnology, Chosun University, Gwangju, 501-759, Republic of Korea
  • 2 BK21 Research Team for Protein Activity Control, Chosun University, Gwangju, 501-759, Republic of Korea
  • 3 Cancer Research Center, Hwasun Hospital, Chonnam National University, Jeonnam, 519-809, Republic of Korea
  • 4 Department of Alternative medicine, Gwangju University, Gwangju, 503-703, Republic of Korea


Cordyceps militaris is a popular medicinal mushroom, and has received extensive attention for medical application because of its various physiological activities. However, there is limited information about the function of Cordyceps militaris on dopaminergic system. This study has attempted to evaluate the effect of cultured fruiting bodies of Cordyceps militaris extract (CME) on the expression of the tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) gene in PC12 cells and rat brain and stomach. Related mRNA levels were determined by the RT-PCR. Protein levels were measured by Western blot and immunohistochemistry. Our results demonstrated CME induced TH gene expression both in vitro and in vivo. Treatment of 10 µg/ml and 20 mg/kg CME to PC12 cells and rat cells yielded significant increases of TH protein levels. Significantly, TH immunoreactive neurons were detected not only in the brain but also in the stomach. TH-immunohistochemical staining was markedly enhanced in animals treated with CME compared to those in the untreated control. These results suggest that CME can upregulate the dopaminergic (DArgic) system, and may contribute to neuroprotection in neurodegenerative diseases.

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