Protective effects of Korean red ginseng extract on cadmium-induced hepatic toxicity in rats

  • Park, Sook Jahr (College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University) ;
  • Lee, Jong Rok (Department of Pharmaceutical Engineering, Daegu Haany University) ;
  • Jo, Mi Jeong (College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University) ;
  • Park, Sang Mi (College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University) ;
  • Ku, Sae Kwang (College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University) ;
  • Kim, Sang Chan (College of Oriental Medicine, Daegu Haany University)
  • Received : 2012.05.08
  • Accepted : 2012.08.29
  • Published : 2013.01.15


Korean red ginseng is known to regulate the immune system and help the body struggle infection and disease. Cadmium is widely distributed in the environment due to its use in industry. Exposure to cadmium is problematic causing organ dysfunction. This study was conducted to evaluate the protective effect of Korean red ginseng extract (RGE) against cadmium-induced hepatotoxicity in rats. In experiments, animals were orally administrated with RGE (25, 50 mg/kg) for 7 d and then intravenously injected with cadmium ($CdCl_2$, 4 mg/kg) to induce acute hepatotoxicity. Cadmium caused the elevated levels of alanine aminotransferase, aspartate aminotransferase, and lactate dehydrogenase in serum. In contrast, pretreatment with RGE significantly reduced those serum indexes related with liver damage. In histopathological analysis, RGE decreased the centrilobular necrosis around central veins and the peripheral hemorrhage around portal triads. Moreover, RGE restored the deficit in hepatic glutathione level resulting from cadmium treatment. RGE also inhibited the increase in the expression of Bad, a representative apoptosis marker protein, induced by cadmium treatment. Collectively, these results demonstrate that RGE can reduce the cadmium-induced hepatic toxicity, partly via anti-oxidative and anti-apoptotic process.


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