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J Nat Prod. 2001 Apr;64(4):456-61.

Triterpene saponins from Vietnamese ginseng (Panax vietnamensis) and their hepatocytoprotective activity.

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Institute of Natural Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University, 2630 Sugitani, Toyama 930-0194, Japan.


The methanol extract of Vietnamese ginseng (Panax vietnamensis) was found to possess hepatocytoprotective effects on D-galactosamine (D-GalN)/tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-induced cell death in primary cultured mouse hepatocytes. Further chemical investigation of the extract afforded two new dammarane-type triterpene saponins, ginsenoside Rh(5) (1) and vina-ginsenoside R(25) (2), as well as eight known dammarane-type triterpene saponins, majonoside R(2) (3), pseudo-ginsenoside RT(4) (4), vina-ginsenosides R(1) (5), R(2) (6), and R(10) (7), ginsenosides Rg(1) (8), Rh(1) (9), and Rh(4) (10), and a known sapogenin protopanaxatriol oxide II (11). Their structures were elucidated on the basis of spectral analysis. In addition, by the using LC-electrospray ionization (ESI)-MS method, five known saponins, ginsenosides Rb(1), Rb(2), Rc, Rd, and Re (12--16), were also identified in the extract. Among the compounds isolated, majonoside R(2) (3), the main saponin in Vietnamese ginseng, showed strong protective activity against D-GalN/TNF-alpha-induced cell death in primary cultured mouse hepatocytes. This demonstrates that the hepatocytoprotective effect of Vietnamese ginseng is due to dammarane-type triterpene saponins that have an ocotillol-type side chain, a characteristic constituent of Vietnamese ginseng.

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