Korean Red Ginseng Up-regulates C21-Steroid Hormone Metabolism via Cyp11a1 Gene in Senescent Rat Testes

  • Kim, In-Hye (School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University) ;
  • Kim, Si-Kwan (Department of Life Science, Konkuk University College of Biomedical & Health Science) ;
  • Kim, Eun-Hye (School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University) ;
  • Kim, Sung-Won (Department of Life Science, Konkuk University College of Biomedical & Health Science) ;
  • Sohn, Sang-Hyun (Department of Life Science, Konkuk University College of Biomedical & Health Science) ;
  • Lee, Soo-Cheol (Department of Molecular Science and Technology, Ajou University) ;
  • Choi, Sang-Dun (Department of Molecular Science and Technology, Ajou University) ;
  • Pyo, Suhk-Neung (School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University) ;
  • Rhee, Dong-Kwon (School of Pharmacy, Sungkyunkwan University)
  • Received : 2011.01.19
  • Accepted : 2011.03.22
  • Published : 2011.09.25


Ginseng (Panax ginseng Meyer) has been shown to have anti-aging effects in animal and clinical studies. However, the molecular mechanisms by which ginseng exerts these effects remain unknown. Here, the anti-aging effect of Korean red ginseng (KRG) in rat testes was examined by system biology analysis. KRG water extract prepared in feed pellets was administered orally into 12 month old rats for 4 months, and gene expression in testes was determined by microarray analysis. Microarray analysis identified 33 genes that significantly changed. Compared to the 2 month old young rats, 13 genes (Rps9, Cyp11a1, RT1-A2, LOC365778, Sv2b, RGD1565959, RGD1304748, etc.) were up-regulated and 20 genes (RT1-Db1, Cldn5, Svs5, Degs1, Vdac3, Hbb, LOC684355, Svs5, Tmem97, Orai1, Insl3, LOC497959, etc.) were down-regulated by KRG in the older rats. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis of untreated aged rats versus aged rats treated with KRG showed that the affected most was Cyp11a1, responsible for C21-steroid hormone metabolism, and the top molecular and cellular functions are organ morphology and reproductive system development and function. When genes in young rat were compared with those in the aged rat, sperm capacitation related genes were down-regulated in the old rat. However, when genes in the old rat were compared with those in the old rat treated with KRG, KRG treatment up-regulated C21-steroid hormone metabolism. Taken together, Cyp11a1 expression is decreased in the aged rat, however, it is up-regulated by KRG suggesting that KRG seems enhance testes function via Cyp11a1.


Panax ginseng;Korean red ginseng;Aging;Testis;System biology;Cyp11a1


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