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Open Access Research

Neuroprotective effects of ginsenosides Rh1 and Rg2 on neuronal cells

Xiao-Fan Li1, Cathy Nga-Ping Lui1, Zhi-Hong Jiang2 and Yung Kin-Lam Ken1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong SAR, China

2 School of Chinese Medicine, Hong Kong Baptist University, Kowloon Tong, Hong Kong SAR, China

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Chinese Medicine 2011, 6:19  doi:10.1186/1749-8546-6-19

Published: 19 May 2011

Abstract

Background

The present study investigates the effects of ginsenosides Rh1 and Rg2 against 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA), a neurotoxin on SH-SY5Y cells and PC-12 cells. The effects of these two ginsenosides on neuronal differentiation are also examined.

Methods

LDH assay was used to measure cell viability after exposure to 6-OHDA and ginsenosides. Neuronal differentiation was evaluated by changes in cell morphology and density of neurite outgrowths. Western blotting was used to determine the ginsenosides' effects on activation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinases (ERKs).

Results

Rh1 and Rg2 attenuated 6-OHDA toxicity in SH-SY5Y cells and induced neurite outgrowths in PC-12 cells. 6-OHDA-induced ERK phosphorylation was decreased by Rh1 and Rg2. 20(R)-form and 20(S)-form of the ginsenosides exerted similar effects in inducing neurite outgrowths in PC-12 cells.

Conclusion

The present study demonstrates neuroprotective effects of ginsenosides Rh1 and Rg2 on neuronal cell lines. These results suggest potential Chinese medicine treatment for neurodegenerative disorders (eg Parkinson's disease).