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Phytother Res. 2009 Oct;23(10):1399-403. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2786.

Chemopreventive effect of Panax ginseng.

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University of Pecs, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Public Health, Pécs, Hungary.


Asian ginseng (Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer) has been used in Chinese medicine for two thousand years. The root of ginseng contains several saponins (ginsenosides) which are biologically active compounds. Individual ginsenosides suppress tumor cell growth, induce cell differentiation, regulate apoptosis and inhibit metastasis formation. The aim of this study was to evaluate its chemo-preventive effects in an animal test model, through its regulatory effects on apoptosis and the cell cycle.The expression of genes (Bcl-2, Bcl-x and Cyclin D1) which affect apoptosis were examined, in different organs of animals which had consumed a ginseng-containing diet in the presence of a known carcinogen (DMBA). The pattern of gene expression was determined by Q-RT-PCR. The increase of antiapoptotic gene expression after carcinogenic exposure was suppressed by consumption of ginseng which promoted apoptosis.The population is exposed to numerous physical and chemical insults in the modern environment and these include compounds which are known carcinogens. Research has shown that it is possible to interfere with the multi-step process of carcinogenesis through the use of compounds with chemo-preventive effects, such as the inhibition of the activation of antiapoptotic genes.These results support the efficacy of ginseng-containing diets and dietary supplements in the prevention of cancerous diseases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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