Recently, a research team led by Chinese researchers from State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, China Pharmaceutical University published a study in the journal Cell Death & Disease, Nature, revealing that ginsenoside Rg5 increases cardiomyocyte resistance to ischemic injury through regulation of mitochondrial hexokinase-II(HK-II) and dynamin-related protein 1(Drp1).
Ginsenosides are natural compounds extracted from Araliaceae plants like Panax ginseng. As the metabolite of prototype ginsenosides, rare ginsenosides exhibit powerful anticancer activities in many aspects, including inhibiting angiogenesis in malignant lesions, alleviating toxicity induced by chemotherapy and radiotherapy and increasing drug sensitivity, reversing multiple drug resistance of malignant cells and delaying drug-resistant cycle. Scientists have determined at least 30 rare ginsenosides, including Rk2、Rh3、Rh2、Rg3、Rg5、Rk1、Rk3、Rh1、Rh4、aPPT、aPPD.
The researchers aimed to investigate the cardioprotective effect of ginsenoside Rg5 with emphasis on the regulation of mitochondrial HK-II and Drp1, and the findings showed that Drp1 activation impaired HK-II binding to mitochondria, setting cardiomyocytes at a stage susceptible to ischemia or reperfusion injury and that ginsenoside Rg5 inhibited Drp1 activation and preserved mitochondrial HK-II, thereby protecting the cell against ischemia or reperfusion injury.
This is not the first time that ginsenoside Rg5 were found to protect ischaemic injury or reperfusion injury. In a previous study, Morris Karmazyn, a researcher with Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Western Ontario London Canada, together with his team members reviewed a number of experimental studies and acknowledged ginseng and rare ginsenosides’ potential in combating cardiovascular disorders. In many experimental models, ginseng and ginsenosides are proved beneficial to protecting the ischaemic and reperfused heart and alleviating hypertension.
The finding results further indicate that rare ginsenosides have wide health benefits and ginsenoside Rg5 can be used to protect the cell against ischemia or reperfusion injury.