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Arch Pharm Res. 2003 Jan;26(1):28-33.

Effects of ginsenosides on GABA(A) receptor channels expressed in Xenopus oocytes.

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Department of Physiology, College of Veterinary Medicine Konkuk University, Seoul 143-701, Korea.


Ginsenosides, major active ingredients of Panax ginseng, are known to regulate excitatory ligand-gated ion channel activity such as nicotinic acetylcholine and NMDA receptor channel activity. However, it is not known whether ginsenosides affect inhibitory ligand-gated ion channel activity. We investigated the effect of ginsenosides on human recombinant GABA(A) receptor (alpha1beta1gamma2S) channel activity expressed in Xenopus oocytes using a two-electrode voltage-clamp technique. Among the eight individual ginsenosides examined, namely, Rb1, Rb2, Rc, Rd, Re, Rf, Rg1 and Rg2, we found that Rc most potently enhanced the GABA-induced inward peak current (I(GABA)). Ginsenoside Rc alone induced an inward membrane current in certain batches of oocytes expressing the GABA(A) receptor. The effect of ginsenoside Rc on I(GABA) was both dose-dependent and reversible. The half-stimulatory concentration (EC50) of ginsenoside Rc was 53.2 +/- 12.3 microM. Both bicuculline, a GABA(A) receptor antagonist, and picrotoxin, a GABA(A) channel blocker, blocked the stimulatory effect of ginsenoside Rc on I(GABA). Niflumic acid (NFA) and 4,4'-diisothiocyanostilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid (DIDS), both Cl- channel blockers, attenuated the effect of ginsenoside Rc on I(GABA). This study suggests that ginsenosides regulated GABA(A) receptor expressed in Xenopus oocytes and implies that this regulation might be one of the pharmacological actions of Panax ginseng.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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