Immunosuppressive drugs are applied to control autoimmune disorders and inflammation when excessive tissue damage occurs, as well as to prevent transplant rejection after an organ transplant. Increasing evidence shows that cordyceps is a bidirectional modulator with both potentiating and suppressive effects on the immune system through regulating innate and adaptive immunity. Early oral administration of C. sinensis (2.4 mg/g/day) induced the redistribution of HPBMC with reduced percentages of CD4+ T cells. Mycelia of C. sinensis water extract plus subtherapeutic cyclosporin A also decreased acute rejection in rats that had undergone heart transplant, completely ablated acute vasculopathy in mice at the dose of 50 mg/kg, and decreased IFN-γ release from mouse splenocytes and CD8+ T cells at 3.4 mg/mL in vitro. The administration of C. pruinosa methanol extract inhibited the production of IL-β, TNF-α, NO, and PGE2 in LPS-stimulated macrophages at 10 μg/mL in vitro and LPS-administered mice at 5 mg/kg in vivo via the suppression of NF-κB activation. Methanol extract of caterpillars, but not fruiting bodies, of C. cicadae resulted in the suppression of proliferation of PHA-induced HPBMC and the lowering of IL-2, IL-4, IL-5, IFN-γ, and IL-12 release from PHA-stimulated HPBMC. So, different parts of cordyceps have different effects on immune response.
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