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J Food Sci. 2017 Nov;82(11):2700-2705. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13828. Epub 2017 Oct 24.

Inhibition of Cholesterol Synthesis in HepG2 Cells by GINST-Decreasing HMG-CoA Reductase Expression Via AMP-Activated Protein Kinase.

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BioTech Research Laboratory, Central Research Inst., Ilhwa Co., Ltd., Gangdong-gu, Seoul, 05288, Republic of Korea.


GINST, a hydrolyzed ginseng extract, has been reported to have antidiabetic effects and to reduce hyperglycemia and hyperlipidemia. Hypercholesterolemia is caused by diet or genetic factors and can lead to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease. Thus, the purpose of this study is to determine whether GINST and the ginsenoside metabolite, IH-901 (compound K), reduce cholesterol synthesis in HepG2 cells and the signal transduction pathways involved. Concentrations of cholesterol were measured by using an enzymatic method. Expression levels of sterol regulatory element-binding protein 2 (SREBP2), HMG-CoA reductase (HMGCR), peroxisome proliferators-activated receptor γ (PPARγ), CCAAT/enhancer-binding proteins α (C/EBPα), GAPDH, and phosphorylation of AMP-activated protein kinase α (AMPKα), protein kinase B (PKB, also known as Akt), and mechanistic target of rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) were measured using western blot. Total cholesterol concentration decreased after GINST treatment for 24 and 48 h. Expression of HMGCR decreased more with GINST than with the inhibitors, U18666A and atorvastatin, after 48 h in a dose-dependent manner. Phosphorylation of AMPKα increased 2.5x by GINST after 360 min of treatment, and phosphorylation of Akt decreased after 120 and 360 min. We separated compound K from GINST extracts flash chromatography. Compound K decreased cholesterol synthesis in HepG2 cells at 24 and 48 h. Therefore, we conclude that GINST inhibits cholesterol synthesis in HepG2 cells by decreasing HMGCR expression via AMPKα activation.


GINST, a hydrolyzed ginseng extract, can inhibit cholesterol synthesis in liver cells via activation of AMPKα. IH-901 (compound K), which is the main component with bioactivity in GINST, also has anticholesterol effects. Thus, we suggest that GINST can be used to reduce hypercholesterolemia.


AMP-activated protein kinase α; GINST; HMG-CoA reductase; IH-901; cholesterol

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