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J Agric Food Chem. 2017 Aug 16;65(32):6861-6869. doi: 10.1021/acs.jafc.7b02386. Epub 2017 Aug 7.

Suppressive Effect of Ginsenoside Rg3 against Lipopolysaccharide-Induced Depression-Like Behavior and Neuroinflammation in Mice.

Kang A1,2, Xie T1, Zhu D1,2, Shan J1, Di L1,2, Zheng X3.

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Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Pediatric Respiratory Disease and State Key Laboratory Cultivation Base for TCM Quality and Efficacy, School of Pharmacy, Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine , Nanjing 210023, China.
Jiangsu Key Laboratory for Functional Substance of Chinese Medicine , Nanjing 210023, China.
State Key Laboratory of Natural Medicines, School of Pharmacy, China Pharmaceutical University , Nanjing 210009, China.


Ginsenoside Rg3 (Rg3), a major active ingredient enriched in red ginseng, possesses well-confirmed immunoregulatory effects. Immune disturbance is a common trigger and aggravating factor of depression. The aim of this study was to explore the effects of Rg3 on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced depression-like behavior in mice and the involvement of immune regulation. Pretreatment with Rg3 (i.g., 20 and 40 mg/kg) effectively ameliorated LPS (i.p., 0.83 mg/kg) induced body weight loss, anorexia, and immobility time in both the tail suspension test and the forced swimming test. Rg3 attenuated the disturbed turnover of tryptophan and serotonin in the hippocampus, accompanied by decreased mRNA expression of pro-inflammatory cytokines and indoleamine-2,3-dioxygenase (IDO). These central benefits were partially linked to the regulation of microglia activation and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-κB) pathway. In addition, Rg3 significantly reduced LPS-induced elevation of interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) in plasma, and restored the systemic balance of tryptophan-kynurenine metabolism. Taken together, our results demonstrated that Rg3 was effective in ameliorating depressive-like behavior induced by immune activation, adding new evidence to support its health benefits by immunoregulation.


LPS; depressive-like behavior; ginsenoside Rg3; neuroinflammation; red ginseng

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