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Int J Mol Med. 2015 Jan;35(1):103-9. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2014.2003. Epub 2014 Nov 13.

Influence of Panax ginseng on the offspring of adult rats exposed to prenatal stress.

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Development of Ginseng and Medical Plants Research Institute, Rural Administration, Eumseong, Republic of Korea.
Department of Clinical Pharmacology, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.
Division of Rheumatology, Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, College of Medicine, Soonchunhyang University, Cheonan, Republic of Korea.


The exposure of pregnant females to stress during a critical period of fetal brain development is an environmental risk factor for the development of schizophrenia in adult offspring. Schizophrenia is a group of common mental disorders of unclear origin, affecting approximately 1% of the global population, showing a generally young age at onset. In the present study, a repeated variable stress paradigm was applied to pregnant rats during the final week of gestation. The effects of an extract of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer (PG) on rats exposed to prenatal stress (PNS) were investigated in terms of behavioral activity and protein expression analyses. In the behavioral tests, grooming behavior in a social interaction test, line-crossing behavior in an open-field test and swimming activity in a forced-swim test were decreased in the rats exposed to PNS compared with the non-stressed offspring; the changes in behavioral activity were reversed upon oral treatment with PG (300 mg/kg). Subsequently, western blot analysis and immunohistochemical analyses of the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus revealed that the downregulation of several neurodevelopmental genes which occurred following exposure to PNS was reversed upon treatment with PG. The current findings demonstrate that the downregulation of several genes following exposure to PNS may affect subsequent behavioral changes, and that these phenomena are reversed following treatment with PG during pregnancy. Our results suggest that oral treatment with PG reduces the incidence of psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia.

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