Turkish Journal of Biology




Cordycepin, an active ingredient in the insect fungus Cordyceps militaris, is in a category of compounds that exhibit significant therapeutic activity. The aim of the present study was to investigate the effect of cordycepin on cell proliferation, apoptosis, and cell cycle in A549 human lung cancer cells. MTT assay was used to evaluate the cytotoxic effect of cordycepin on A549 cell growth. Apoptotic effect was observed using cell morphology, DAPI staining, and DNA fragmentation studies. Flow cytometry (FCM) analysis was used to analyze cell cycle status after cordycepin treatment. Furthermore, apoptosis was assayed using annexin V-Alexa Fluor 488. Results of MTT assay showed that cordycepin significantly inhibited cell proliferation with an IC50 value of 64 µg/mL. The number of rounding-up cells increased with cordycepin treatment and changes in cellular morphology were seen. In DNA fragmentation studies, a typical ladder pattern was observed on agarose gel and formation of apoptotic bodies was further confirmed using DAPI staining. The FCM analysis of cordycepin-treated cells showed that apoptosis rate increased with the increase in dosage. In conclusion, cordycepin induces apoptosis in A549 human lung cancer cell line and could be a potential therapeutic candidate for lung cancer treatment.


Cordyceps militaris, cordycepin, lung cancer, flow cytometry, cell cycle, apoptosis

First Page


Last Page


Included in

Biology Commons