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Int J Mol Sci. 2019 Nov 22;20(23). pii: E5872. doi: 10.3390/ijms20235872.

Enhanced Neuroprotective Effects of Panax ginseng G115® and Ginkgo biloba GK501® Combinations In Vitro Models of Excitotoxicity.

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Department of Health Sciences, Section of Clinical Pharmacology and Oncology, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy.
Department of Chemistry, University of Florence, Via Ugo Schiff 6, 50019 Sesto Fiorentino, Florence, Italy.


Neurological-related disorders are seen as an increasingly important aspect of welfare. While conventional medicine is still the mainstay for the treatment of these diseases, it is becoming apparent that patients are also seeking more natural and preventative interventions. Panax ginseng G115® and Ginkgo biloba GK501® extracts alone or in combination were used in two in vitro experimental models of primary cultures exposed to excitotoxicity: rat organotypic hippocampal slices exposed to either 5 µM kainic acid or 10 µM N-Methyl-d-aspartate for 24 hours, and mixed cortical cells exposed to 300 µM NMDA for 10 min. Cell death in the Cornu Ammonis areas CA3 or CA1 subregions of slices was quantified by measuring propidium iodide fluorescence, whereas in cortical cells, it was assessed by measuring the amount of lactate dehydrogenase. In slices, treatment with extracts alone or in combination significantly attenuated CA3 and CA1 damage induced by exposure to kainic acid or NMDA, respectively. A similar neuroprotective effect was observed in cortical cells exposed to NMDA. Analysis of cell signaling pathways found that the two extracts induced an increase of the phosphorylation and they reversed the decrease of phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Akt induced by kainic acid and NMDA in organotypic hippocampal slices. These results suggest that P. ginseng G115® and G. biloba GK501® extracts may mediate their effects by activating phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and Akt signaling pathways, protecting against excitotoxicity-induced damage in in vitro models.


Ginkgo biloba GK501®; Panax ginseng G115®; cortical cells; excitotoxicity; neuroprotection; organotypic hippocampal slices

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