Ginseng is a famous medicinal herb that has been used to promote human health for thousands of years. Researchers have made huge efforts in ginseng research especially since ginseng was found to exhibit antitumor bioactivities.
The bioactive compounds called ginsenosides, contribute predominantly to the antitumor activity of ginseng. They can inhibit tumor invasion, metastasis, alleviate the toxic effects of cancer therapy, and enhance the sensitivity of the tumor to antitumor activities.
Despite antitumor advantages, ginsenosides have low solubility in the human body, thus resulting in their low absorption and utilization, which is a challenge that hinders us to make full use of ginsenosides.
One solution emerging in recent years is to use nanoparticle delivery systems that enable increased stability and solubility to achieve enhanced antitumor efficacy in the gastrointestinal environment.
A recent study published in the journal Advances in Polymer Technology found that HA-Rg3 nanoparticles (hyaluronic acid nanoparticles coated with ginsenoside Rg3) showed significant antitumor activities in non-small cell lung cancer H125 cells.
The study is a vitro research designed to explore the effects of HA-Rg3 nanoparticles on inhibiting non-small cell lung cancer cells and the related mechanisms of action. It helps researchers understand whether nanoparticle carriers can improve the potency of ginsenoside Rg3 in inhibiting H125 cells.
Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a type of lung cancer, making up about 75%-80% of the total lung cancer cases. Previous studies found that miR-192, a type of RNA molecule that shows a significantly increased expression in NSCLC, is likely linked with the occurrence and development of non-small cell lung cancer, and can be used as a biomarker for detecting NSCLC.
Using human normal lung epithelial cells BEAS-2B as a benchmark, researchers confirmed the overexpression of miR-192 in H125 cells. They also found that the downregulation of miR-192 upregulated its target tumor suppressor gene PTEN to exert the antitumor activities in H125 cells, as indicated by previous studies.
HA-Rg3 nanoparticles and ginsenoside Rg3 were used to treat H125 cells in order to verify their inhibitory effects on the expression of miR-129 in H125 cells.
The experiment results showed that both ginsenoside Rg3 and HA-Rg3 nanoparticles effectively inhibited the expression of miR-192. HA-Rg3 achieved better inhibition of miR-192 expression in H125 cells than ginsenoside Rg3.
The researchers also examined and compared the abilities of five agents (i.e. Rg3, HA-Rg3, miR-192 inhibitor, etc.) in inhibiting the H125 cells proliferation, invasion, migration, and inducing apoptosis in H125 cells.
The results showed that Rg3 and HA-Rg3 nanoparticles alleviated the aforementioned malignant behaviors of H125 cells through the miR-192/PTEN molecular pathway. Compared to ginsenoside Rg3 alone, HA-Rg3 nanoparticles showed better antitumor effects in H125 cells.
Ginsenoside Rg3 is already used as an antitumor drug to help cancer treatment in China, but improved solubility and bioavailability are needed to enhance its effectiveness in the human body. The study is significant in innovation and practicability and provides a promising solution for improving the effectiveness of ginsenosides Rg3.
Zhou, Weizheng & Cai, Chengliang & Shi, Hui & Jin, Hai & Wang, Xiaowei. (2020). Effects of Ginsenoside Biopolymer Nanoparticles on the Malignant Behavior of Non-Small-Cell Lung Cancer. Advances in Polymer Technology. 2020. 1-7. 10.1155/2020/1796701.