J Cancer 2015; 6(1):1-8. doi:10.7150/jca.10353

Research Paper

Chemopreventive Effects of Korean Red Ginseng Extract on Rat Hepatocarcinogenesis

Hyemee Kim1, Mi-Kyung Hong2, Haymie Choi3, Hyun-Seuk Moon4✉, Hae-Jeung Lee5✉

1. Department of Nutrition and Food Science, Texas A&M University, College station, Texas, 77845, USA.
2. Department of Dietetics, Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, 135-710, South Korea;
3. Department of Food and Nutrition, Seoul National University, Seoul, 151-742, South Korea;
4. Laboratory of Metabolic Engineering, Division of Biotechnology, College of Life Sciences & Biotechnology, Korea University, Seoul, 136-713, South Korea;
5. Department of Food and Nutrition, Eulji University, Seoungnam-Si, Kyunggi-Do, 461-713, South Korea.


The objective of this study was to determine a chemopreventive activity of Korean red ginseng extract (KRG) in diethylnitrosamine (DEN) induced hepatocarcinogenesis in rats. After acclimatization for a week, Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized into five groups (n = 15) and fed either KRG (0.5, 1 or 2%) or control diets for 10 weeks. After two weeks of starting of experimental diets, the rats were initiated hepatocarcinogenesis by injection of DEN and were then subjected to two-thirds partial hepatectomy at five-week for developing the medium-term bioassay system. Both 0.5 and 1% KRG diets suppressed the area (55 and 60%; p= 0.0251 and 0.0144) and number (39 and 59%; p= 0.0433 and 0.0012) of glutathione S-transferase placental form (GST-P) positive foci when compared to the DEN-control group. The production of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) was significantly reduced in 0.5 and 1% KRG-treated rats. The supplementation of 1% KRG diet significantly elevated the levels of total glutathione (tGSH) and glutathione-related enzymes including cytosolic glutathione S-transferase (GST) and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) activities. It was also observed in cDNA microarray that the gene expressions (Cyp2c6, Cyp2e1, Cyp3a9, and Mgst1) involved in the xenobiotics metabolism via cytochrome P450 signaling pathway were down-regulated in the 1% KRG diet-treated group when compared to the DEN-control. The chemopreventive effects of KRG could be affected by 1) the decrease of lipid peroxidation, 2) the increase of tGSH content and GSH-dependent enzyme activities, and 3) the decrease of the gene expression profile involved in cytochrome P450 signaling pathway. These results suggest that KRG may prove to be a therapeutic agent against hepatocarcinogenesis.

Keywords: Korean red ginseng, rat, glutathione S-transferase placental form positive foci, hepatocarcinogenesis, antioxidant.

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How to cite this article:
Kim H, Hong MK, Choi H, Moon HS, Lee HJ. Chemopreventive Effects of Korean Red Ginseng Extract on Rat Hepatocarcinogenesis. J Cancer 2015; 6(1):1-8. doi:10.7150/jca.10353. Available from http://www.jcancer.org/v06p0001.htm