Red ginseng root (Panax Ginseng CA Meyer) has been used clinically by many Asian people for thousands of years without any detrimental effects. One of the major components of Red ginseng root is ginsenoside Rb1 (gRb1). Previously, we showed that intravenous infusion of gRb1 ameliorated ischemic brain damage through upregulation of an anti-apoptotic factor, Bcl-xL and that topical application of gRb1 to burn wound lesion facilitated wound healing through upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). In the present study, we produced dihydroginsenoside Rb1 (dgRb1), a stable chemical derivative of gRb1, and showed that intravenous infusion of dgRb1 improved spinal cord injury (SCI) as well as ischemic brain damage. As we expected, the effective dose of dgRb1 was ten times lower than that of gRb1. Intravenous infusion of dgRb1 at this effective dose did not affect brain temperature, blood pressure or cerebral blood flow, suggesting that dgRb1 rescued damaged neurons without affecting systemic parameters. In subsequent in vitro studies that focused on dgRb1-induced expression of gene products responsible for neuronal death or survival, we showed that dgRb1 could upregulate the expression of not only Bcl-xL, but also a potent angiogenic and neurotrophic factor, VEGF. We also showed that dgRb1-induced expression of bcl-xL and VEGF mRNA was HRE (hypoxia response element) and STRE (signal transducers and activators of transcription 5 (Stat5) response element) dependent, respectively.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Neurology