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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 984537, 11 pages
Original Article

Cordycepin Induced MA-10 Mouse Leydig Tumor Cell Apoptosis through Caspase-9 Pathway

1Department of Cell Biology and Anatomy, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan
2Institute of Bioindustrial Technology, College of Human Ecology, HungKuang University, Taichung, Taiwan

Received 27 August 2008; Accepted 5 December 2008

Copyright © 2011 Chun-Yi Jen et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


In the present study, the apoptotic effect of cordycepin on MA-10 cells, a mouse Leydig tumor cell line, was investigated. Results demonstrated that the number of rounding-up cell increased by cordycepin (10 μM to 5 mM for 24 h), and cells with plasma membrane blebbing could be observed by 100 μM cordycepin. In viability test, MA-10 cell surviving rate significantly decreased as the dosage (10 μM to 5 mM) and duration (3–24 h) of cordycepin treatment increased (P < 0.05). Cordycepin at 100 μM and 1 mM for 24 h treatment induced significant DNA fragmentation (P < 0.05). In addition, the percentage of G1 and G2/M phase cell significantly declined by cordycepin (100 μM and 1 mM) for 24 h treatment, while the percentages of subG1 phase cell increased by 100 μM and/or 1 mM cordycepin in 6, 12 and 24 h treatments (P < 0.05), respectively, which highly suggested that cordycepin induced MA-10 cell apoptosis. In mechanism study with the treatments of caspases, c-Jun NH2 terminal kinase (JNK) or reactive oxygen species (ROS) inhibitors plus cordycepin for 24 h, only caspases inhibitor suppressed subG1 phase in MA-10 cells. Moreover, western blotting results showed that cordycepin induced caspase-9, -3 and -7 protein expressions, but not caspase-8, in time- and dose-dependent manners. In conclusion, cordycepin induced apoptosis in MA-10 mouse Leydig tumor cells through a caspase-9 and -3 and -7 dependent pathway.