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J Ginseng Res. 2018 Jul;42(3):298-303. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2017.03.010. Epub 2017 Apr 4.

Ginsenoside Rg1 modulates medial prefrontal cortical firing and suppresses the hippocampo-medial prefrontal cortical long-term potentiation.

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Department of Pharmacology, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University Health System, Singapore.
Neurobiology and Ageing Programme, Life Sciences Institute, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Singapore Institute for Neurotechnology (SINAPSE), Singapore.
Department of Pharmacy, Faculty of Science, National University of Singapore, Singapore.
Department of Psychological Medicine, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.



Panax ginseng is one of the most commonly used medicinal herbs worldwide for a variety of therapeutic properties including neurocognitive effects. Ginsenoside Rg1 is one of the most abundant active chemical constituents of this herb with known neuroprotective, anxiolytic, and cognition improving effects.


We investigated the effects of Rg1 on the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), a key brain region involved in cognition, information processing, working memory, and decision making. In this study, the effects of systemic administration of Rg1 (1 mg/kg, 3 mg/kg, or 10 mg/kg) on (1) spontaneous firing of the medial prefrontal cortical neurons and (2) long-term potentiation (LTP) in the hippocampal-medial prefrontal cortical (HP-mPFC) pathway were investigated in male Sprague-Dawley rats.


The spontaneous neuronal activity of approximately 50% the recorded pyramidal cells in the mPFC was suppressed by Rg1. In addition, Rg1 attenuated LTP in the HP-mPFC pathway. These effects were not dose-dependent.


This report suggests that acute treatment of Rg1 impairs LTP in the HP-mPFC pathway, perhaps by suppressing the firing of a subset of mPFC neurons that may contribute to the neurocognitive effects of Rg1.


ginsenoside Rg1; hippocampus; long-term potentiation; medical prefrontal cortex; single unit

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