Triterpene saponins from Vietnamese ginseng (Panax vietnamensis) and their hepatocytoprotective activity

J Nat Prod. 2001 Apr;64(4):456-61. doi: 10.1021/np000393f.


The methanol extract of Vietnamese ginseng (Panax vietnamensis) was found to possess hepatocytoprotective effects on D-galactosamine (D-GalN)/tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha)-induced cell death in primary cultured mouse hepatocytes. Further chemical investigation of the extract afforded two new dammarane-type triterpene saponins, ginsenoside Rh(5) (1) and vina-ginsenoside R(25) (2), as well as eight known dammarane-type triterpene saponins, majonoside R(2) (3), pseudo-ginsenoside RT(4) (4), vina-ginsenosides R(1) (5), R(2) (6), and R(10) (7), ginsenosides Rg(1) (8), Rh(1) (9), and Rh(4) (10), and a known sapogenin protopanaxatriol oxide II (11). Their structures were elucidated on the basis of spectral analysis. In addition, by the using LC-electrospray ionization (ESI)-MS method, five known saponins, ginsenosides Rb(1), Rb(2), Rc, Rd, and Re (12--16), were also identified in the extract. Among the compounds isolated, majonoside R(2) (3), the main saponin in Vietnamese ginseng, showed strong protective activity against D-GalN/TNF-alpha-induced cell death in primary cultured mouse hepatocytes. This demonstrates that the hepatocytoprotective effect of Vietnamese ginseng is due to dammarane-type triterpene saponins that have an ocotillol-type side chain, a characteristic constituent of Vietnamese ginseng.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Death / drug effects
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • Liver / cytology
  • Liver / drug effects*
  • Mice
  • Molecular Structure
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Saponins / chemistry
  • Saponins / isolation & purification*
  • Saponins / pharmacology
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization
  • Triterpenes / chemistry
  • Triterpenes / isolation & purification*
  • Triterpenes / pharmacology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / pharmacology


  • Saponins
  • Triterpenes
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha