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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:237207. doi: 10.1155/2013/237207. Epub 2013 Jan 27.

Korean Red Ginseng Extract Attenuates 3-Nitropropionic Acid-Induced Huntington's-Like Symptoms.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, College of Korean Medicine and Institute of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea.


Korean red ginseng (KRG) possesses neuroprotective activity. However, the potential neuroprotective value of KRG for the striatal toxicity is largely unknown. We investigated whether KRG extract (KRGE) could have a neuroprotective effect in a 3-nitropropionic acid- (3-NP) induced (i.p.) Huntington's disease (HD) model. KRGE (50, 100, and 250 mg/kg/day, p.o.) was administrated 10 days before 3-NP injection (pre-administration), from the same time with 3-NP injection (co-administration), or from the peak point of neurological impairment by 3-NP injection (post-administration). Pre-administration of KRGE produced the greatest neuroprotective effect in this model. Pre-administration of KRGE significantly decreased 3-NP-induced neurological impairment, lethality, lesion area, and neuronal loss in the 3-NP-injected striatum. KRGE attenuated microglial activation and phosphorylation of mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) and nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB) signal pathway. KRGE also reduced the level of mRNA expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha, interleukin- (IL-) 1β, IL-6, inducible nitric oxide synthase, and OX-42. Interestingly, the intrathecal administration of SB203580 (a p38 inhibitor) or PD98059 (an inhibitor of MAPK Kinase, MEK) increased the survival rate in the 3-NP-induced HD model. Pre-administration of KRGE may effectively inhibit 3-NP-induced striatal toxicity via the inhibition of the phosphorylation of MAPKs and NF-κB pathways, indicating its therapeutic potential for suppressing Huntington's-like symptoms.

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