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Planta Med. 2006 Oct;72(13):1250-3. Epub 2006 Sep 18.

A ginsenoside metabolite, 20-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol, triggers apoptosis in activated rat hepatic stellate cells via caspase-3 activation.

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Department of Pharmacy, Wonkwang University, Iksan, Jeonbuk 570-749, Republic of Korea.


We investigated the apoptotic effects of the protopanaxadiol ginsenosides, Rb (1) and Rb (2), and their intestinal bacterial metabolite, 20-O-beta-D-glucopyranosyl-20(S)-protopanaxadiol (M1), and of the protopanaxatriol ginsenoside, Rg (1), and its intestinal bacterial metabolite, 20(S)-protopanaxatriol, in activated rat hepatic stellate cells (HSCs) transformed by Simian virus 40 (T-HSC/Cl-6). As HSCs play a central role in liver fibrosis, agents that selectively induce apoptosis of HSCs could be used to treat this disease. Apoptosis was measured using cell viability tests, DNA fragmentation analysis, and immunoblot analysis of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage. M1 (40 microM for 24 h) significantly induced apoptosis in activated rat HSCs. M1 induced apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner as shown by DNA fragmentation, an increased population of cells in the sub-G1 phase, and reduced mitochondrial transmembrane potential. M1 induced caspase-3 activity in a dose- and time-dependent manner. A specific inhibitor of caspase-3 prevented induction of apoptosis by M1 as shown by DNA fragmentation analysis. It is concluded that M1 induces apoptosis in T-HSC/Cl-6 cells via caspase-3 activation.

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