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Fermented red ginseng alleviates drug-induced immunosuppression and colitis


Researchers at Kyung Hee University and Hanyang University in South Korea looked at the immunomodulating effects of red ginseng. The team published their results in The American Journal of Chinese Medicine.

  • A variety of products have been developed with ginseng (Panax ginseng), including red ginseng, which is steamed ginseng root.
  • The researchers examined different extracts of red ginseng: water-extracted red ginseng, 50 percent ethanol-extracted red ginseng, enzyme-treated red ginseng, and probiotic-fermented red ginseng.
  • They conducted the study in mice with cyclophosphamide-induced immunosuppression and 2,4,6-trinitrobenzene sulfonic acid (TNBS)-induced colitis. Then, they orally administered the red ginseng extracts to mice.
  • The results showed that red ginseng treatment significantly increased blood interferon-gamma levels. It also promoted the destruction of tumor cells by increasing levels of natural killer (NK) cells and cytotoxic T cells (Tc) in mice. These cells are a type of lymphocytes that play a significant role in fighting cancer, damaged, and infected cells.
  • Treatment with fermented red ginseng and water-extracted red ginseng substantially increased Type 1 T helper (Th1) cell differentiation. Th1 cells produce interferon-gamma, interleukin (IL)-2, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-beta.
  • Treatment with red ginseng, except water-extracted red ginseng, increased regulatory T (Treg) cell differentiation. However, water-extracted red ginseng alone increased IL-6 and IL-17 expression in the colon of mice. Furthermore, red ginseng alleviated colitis in mice.
  • Fermented red ginseng most potently suppressed TNBS-induced colon shortening, NF-kB activation, and TNF-alpha and IL-17 expression and increased IL-10 expression.

In sum, the findings indicated that fermented red ginseng could reduce immunosuppression and inflammation by suppressing macrophage activation and regulating Th1 and Treg cell differentiation.

Learn more about the potential health benefits of red ginseng at Medicine.news.

Journal Reference:

Kim JK, Kim JY, Jang SE, Choi MS, Jang HM, Yoo HH, Kim DH. FERMENTED RED GINSENG ALLEVIATES CYCLOPHOSPHAMIDE-INDUCED IMMUNOSUPPRESSION AND 2,4,6-TRINITROBENZENESULFONIC ACID-INDUCED COLITIS IN MICE BY REGULATING MACROPHAGE ACTIVATION AND T CELL DIFFERENTIATION. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine. 5 December 2018; 46(8): 1879-1897. DOI: 10.1142/s0192415x18500945



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