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J Vet Sci. 2018 Mar 31;19(2):172-178. doi: 10.4142/jvs.2018.19.2.172.

Korean red ginseng excitation of paraventricular nucleus neurons via non-N-methyl-D-aspartate glutamate receptor activation in mice.

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Department of Oral Physiology, School of Dentistry and Institute of Oral Bioscience, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 54896, Korea.
Department of Pharmacology, School of Veterinary Medicine, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Korea.
Daejeon Dong-gu Health Promotion Center, Daejeon 34691, Korea.


It has been reported that Korean red ginseng (KRG), a valuable and important traditional medicine, has varied effects on the central nervous system, suggesting its activities are complicated. The paraventricular nucleus (PVN) neurons of the hypothalamus has a critical role in stress responses and hormone secretions. Although the action mechanisms of KRG on various cells and systems have been reported, the direct membrane effects of KRG on PVN neurons have not been fully described. In this study, the direct membrane effects of KRG on PVN neuronal activity were investigated by using a perforated patch-clamp in ICR mice. In gramicidin perforated patch-clamp mode, KRG extract (KRGE) induced repeatable depolarization followed by hyperpolarization of PVN neurons. The KRGE-induced responses were concentration- dependent and persisted in the presence of tetrodotoxin, a voltage sensitive Na+ channel blocker. The KRGE-induced responses were suppressed by 6-cyano-7-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-dione (10 μM), a non-N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptor antagonist, but not by picrotoxin, a type A gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor antagonist. The results indicate that KRG activates non-NMDA glutamate receptors of PVN neurons in mice, suggesting that KRG may be a candidate for use in regulation of stress responses by controlling autonomic nervous system and hormone secretion.


Korean red ginseng; paraventricular nucleus neurons; patch-clamp techniques

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