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Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol. 2014 Feb;36(1):43-51. doi: 10.3109/08923973.2013.864669. Epub 2013 Dec 3.

Ginsenoside Rh2-B1 stimulates cell proliferation and IFN-γ production by activating the p38 MAPK and ERK-dependent signaling pathways in CTLL-2 cells.

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  • 1Department of Clinical Veterinary Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Jilin University , Changchun, Jilin , China.



Ginsenoside Rh2, an active component of ginseng, exhibits immunoregulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. Rh2-B1, a sulfated derivative, was prepared to enhance its water solubility. We studied the effect of Rh2-B1 on CTLL-2, a CD8⁺ cytotoxic T cell line that was known for protecting against viral infection.


We aimed to investigate the effect of Rh2-B1 on interferon (IFN)-γ production and cell proliferation and its possible mechanism.


Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was employed to analyze the IFN-γ concentration of the whole blood and the supernatant of CTLL-2 cell culture. Cell proliferation assay was conducted using the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay. Western blots were used to evaluate changes in signal transduction pathways in CTLL-2 cells.


Rh2-B1 was able to enhance IFN-γ production from whole blood culture of Balb/c mice. We then evaluated the effect of Rh2-B1 on a cytotoxic T cell line, CTLL-2 for cell proliferation, IFN-γ production and its molecular mechanism. Rh2-B1 promoted cell proliferation and IFN-γ production of CTLL-2 cells. It also induced activation of p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and extracellular-signal-regulated kinases (ERK), but inhibited p56 Lck and transducer and activator of transcription 5 (STAT5) expression. The effect was blocked by the specific p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 and ERK inhibitor U0126.


Rh2-B1 could stimulate cell proliferation and IFN-γ production by activating the p38 MAPK- and ERK-dependent signaling pathways in cytotoxic T cells. This may be a novel medicine for treatment of viral infections.

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