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Protective Effect of Korean Red Ginseng against Aflatoxin B1-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Rat

Journal of Ginseng Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.5142/jgr.2011.35.2.243
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  • Biology
  • Medicine


Korean red ginseng (KRG), the steamed root of Panax ginseng Meyer, has a variety of biological properties, including anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer effects. Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) produced by the Aspergillus spp. causes acute hepatotoxicity by lipid peroxidation and oxidative DNA damage, and induces liver carcinoma in humans and laboratory animals. This study was performed to examine the protective effects of KRG against hepatotoxicity induced by AFB1 using liver-specific serum marker analysis, histopathology, and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling. In addition, to elucidate the possible mechanism of hepatoprotective effects, superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and malondialdehyde were analyzed. Rats were treated with 250 mg/kg of KRG (KRG group) or saline (AFB1 group) for 4 weeks and then received 150 μg/kg of AFB1 intraperitoneally for 3 days. Rats were sacrificed at 12 h, 24 h, 48 h, 72 h, or 1 wk after AFB1 treatment. In the KRG pre-treatment group, serum alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and malondialdehyde levels were low, but superoxide dismutase, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase activities were high as compared to the AFB1 alone group. Histopathologically, AFB1 treatment induced necrosis and apoptosis in hepatocytes, and led to inflammatory cells infiltration in the liver. KRG pre-treatment ameliorated these changes. These results indicate that KRG may have protective effects against hepatotoxicity induced by AFB1 that involve the antioxidant properties of KRG.

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