Synergistic anticancer and antibacterial activities of cordycepin and selected natural bioactive compounds

He Ni, Rui-Lin Hao, Xue-Feng Li (Corresponding Author), Vassilios Raikos, Hai-Hang Li

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Purpose: To investigate if cordycepin (Cor) exerts synergistic anticancer and antibacterial activities with curcumin (Cur), resveratrol (Res), genistein (Gen), and anthocyanidin (Ant) in order to improve its therapeutic effect.
Methods: Antibacterial activity was assayed against Escherichia coli BL21 (DE3) cultured in the Luria-Bertani (LB) medium, while anticancer activity against Hela cells was determined using 3-(4, 5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2, 5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Immunofluorescence assay was used to measure the expressions of p53 and caspase-3, while apoptosis was assayed in Hela cells using Wright-Giemsa dye staining method.
Results: The combination of Cor and Gen produced the most significant synergistic antibacterial activity, while combination of Cor, Cur and Gen exerted significant and synergistic anticancer activity against Hela cells. Among all three-compound combinations, Cor + Res + Gen had the highest synergistic anticancer activity. Immunofluorescence data indicate that Cor functioned by up-regulating p53-dependent apoptosis, while Res exerted its effect by p53- and caspase-3-dependent apoptosis, and Gen functioned by inhibiting adenosine deaminase and Cor degradation.
Conclusion: The three compounds function via different mechanisms, and synergistically induce Hela cell apoptosis. This work provides a strong basis for the development of highly active and multi-component anticancer drugs from natural sources.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1621-1627
Number of pages7
JournalTropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2018


  • Cordycepin
  • Natural phenolic compounds
  • Caspase
  • Anticancer
  • Synergy


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