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J Ginseng Res. 2016 Jul;40(3):211-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2015.07.007. Epub 2015 Aug 7.

Water-soluble ginseng oligosaccharides protect against scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment by functioning as an antineuroinflammatory agent.

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Physiology Department, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China.
Key Laboratory of Molecular Epigenetics of Ministry of Education, Institute of Cytology and Genetics, Northeast Normal University, Changchun, Jilin, China.
Department of Neurology, First Hospital of Jilin University, Changchun, Jilin, China.



Panax ginseng root is used in traditional oriental medicine for human health. Its main active components such as saponins and polysaccharides have been widely evaluated for treating diseases, but secondary active components such as oligosaccharides have been rarely studied. This study aimed to assess the impact of water-soluble ginseng oligosaccharides (WGOS), which were isolated from the warm-water extract of Panax ginseng root, on scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment in mice and its antineuroinflammatory mechanisms.


We investigated the impact of WGOS on scopolamine-induced cognitive impairment in mice by using Morris water maze and novel object recognition task. We also analyzed the impact of WGOS on scopolamine-induced inflammatory response (e.g., the hyperexpression of proinflammatory cytokines IL-1β and IL-6 and astrocyte activation) by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and glial fibrillary acid protein (GFAP) immunohistochemical staining.


WGOS pretreatment protected against scopolamine-induced learning and memory deficits in the Morris water maze and in the novel object recognition task. Furthermore, WGOS pretreatment downregulated scopolamine-induced hyperexpression of proinflammatory cytokines interleukin (IL)-1β and IL-6 mRNA and astrocyte activation in the hippocampus. These results indicate that WGOS can protect against scopolamine-induced alterations in learning and memory and inflammatory response.


Our data suggest that WGOS may be beneficial as a medicine or functional food supplement to treat disorders with cognitive deficits and increased inflammation.


antineuroinflammation; astrocyte activation; cognitive impairment; proinflammatory cytokine; water-soluble ginseng oligosaccharide

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