International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Vol.15, No.5, 7827-7840, 2014
Treatment with Panax Ginseng Antagonizes the Estrogen Decline in Ovariectomized Mice
Ginseng is a popular herb for alleviating menopausal symptoms; however, no conclusive scientific data has shown ginseng as being efficient in such therapies. The present study was designed to evaluate the estrogenic efficacy of ginseng on reproductive target tissues of ovariectomized (OVX) mice. The OVX mice were treated with ginseng at doses of 12.0, 18.0 and 24.0 g/kg per day for four weeks. Ginseng treatments restored the estrus cycle and demonstrated significant estrogenic activity, as indicated by the reversal of the atrophy of the uterus and vagina, upregulation of estrogen receptor (ER) alpha and ER beta expression at the protein and mRNA level in the reproductive tissues, where ER alpha upregulation was stronger than that of ER beta. Meanwhile, treatment with ginseng significantly increased adrenal gland weight and serum estradiol and clearly decreased follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH) in circulation. Notably, the largest changes in these parameters were found at the highest dose of 24.0 g/kg. Moreover, ginseng at 18.0 g/kg resulted in the greatest decrease in weight gain caused by ovariectomy. The data suggest that ginseng estrogenic responses show tissue variation that reflects different affinities of ERs for ginseng components. This study demonstrates that ginseng activity is mediated through estrogenic components and provides further evidence for ginseng treatment of postmenopausal symptoms.