Cordycepin-enriched WIB-801C from Cordyceps militaris improves functional recovery by attenuating blood-spinal cord barrier disruption after spinal cord injury

Jee Youn Lee, Hye Young Choi, Hyung Hwan Baik, Bong G. Ju, Won Ki Kim, Tae Young Yune

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Ethnopharmacological relevance Cordyceps militaris is an ingredient of traditional Chinese medicine and have been widely used for inflammatory diseases and cancer. Cordycepin is one of the major bioactive components of Cordyceps militaris, and has been known to have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Aim of this study In the present study, we examined whether WIB-801C, a standardized and cordycepin-enriched extract of caterpillar fungus (Cordyceps militaris), would attenuate blood-spinal cord barrier (BSCB) disruption by inhibiting matrix metalloprotease (MMP)−9 activity, leading to improvement of functional outcomes after spinal cord injury (SCI). Materials and methods Male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to contusive SCI using a New York University (NYU) impactor, and WIB-801C (50 mg/kg) was administered at 2 h and 8 h after injury orally and further treated once a day for indicated time points. BSCB disruption, MMP-9 activity, blood infiltration, inflammation, neuronal apoptosis, axonal loss, demyelination, and neurological deficit were evaluated. Results We found that WIB-801C significantly attenuated BSCB disruption by inhibiting MMP-9 expression and activation after injury. The infiltration of neutrophils at 1 d and macrophage at 5 d after SCI was also ameliorated by WIB-801C as compared with vehicle control. In addition, the expression of inflammatory cytokines and mediators such as Tnf-α, IL-1β, IL-6, Cox-2, and inos as well as chemokines such as Gro-α and Mip-2α was significantly inhibited by WIB-801C. Furthermore, WIB-801C inhibits p38MAPK activation and proNGF production in microglia after injury. These events eventually led to the inhibition of apoptotic cell death of neurons and oligodendrocytes, improved functional recovery and attenuated demyelination and axon loss after SCI. Conclusion Our results suggest that WIB-801C can be used as a therapeutic agent after SCI by attenuating BSCB disruption followed inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)90-100
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 5


  • Apoptosis
  • Blood-spinal cord barrier
  • Cordycepin
  • Matrix metalloprotease
  • Spinal cord injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


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