Black ginseng extract ameliorates hypercholesterolemia in rats.
J Ginseng Res. 2016 Apr ;40(2):160-8. Epub 2015 Jul 18. PMID: 27158237
BACKGROUND: Ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) is a well-characterized medicinal herb listed in the classic oriental herbal dictionary as"Shin-nong-bon-cho-kyung."Ginseng has diverse pharmacologic and therapeutic properties. Black ginseng (BG, Ginseng Radix nigra) is produced by repeatedly steaming fresh ginseng nine times. Studies of BG have shown that prolonged heat treatment enhances the antioxidant activity with increased radical scavenging activity. Several recent studies have showed the effects of BG on increased lipid profiles in mice. In this study report the effects of water and ethanol extracts of BG on hypercholesterolemia in rats. To our knowledge, this is the first time such an effect has been reported.
METHODS: Experiments were conducted on male Sprague Dawley rats fed with a high-cholesterol diet supplemented with the water and ethanol extracts of BG (200 mg/kg). Their blood cholesterol levels, serum white blood cell levels, and cholesterol-metabolizing marker genes messenger RNA (mRNA) expression were determined. Liver and adipose tissues were histologically analyzed.
RESULTS: We found that BG extracts efficiently reduced the total serum cholesterol levels, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels with increased food efficiency ratio and increased number of neutrophil cells. It also attenuated the key genes responsible for lipogenesis, that is, acetyl-coenzyme A (CoA) acetyltransferase 2, 3-hydroxy-3-methyl-glutaryl-CoA reductase, and sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2, at the mRNA level inside liver cells. Furthermore, the BG extract also reduced the accumulation of fat in adipose tissues, and inhibited the neutral fat content in liver cells stained with hematoxylin and eosin and oil red O.
CONCLUSION: Administration of BG extracts to Sprague Dawley rats fed with high-cholesterol diet ameliorated hypercholesterolemia, which was mediated via modulation of cholesterol-metabolizing marker genes. This data throw a light on BG's cardioprotective effects.