Embryotoxicity study of ginsenoside Rc and Re in in vitro rat whole embryo culture

Reprod Toxicol. 2004 Nov;19(1):131-4. doi: 10.1016/j.reprotox.2004.06.001.


Background: Pregnant women commonly consume ginseng. However, there is little data concerning the effects of ginseng on early pregnancy.

Methods: Rat embryos were exposed in vitro to different concentrations of Rc and Re from day 9.5 to day 11.5 after conception. Embryos were scored for growth and differentiation at the end of the culture period.

Results: Embryos exposed to 50.0 microg/ml Re had significantly lower median morphological score (29.0 versus 48.0), fewer number of somites (15.0 versus 21.0), and smaller yolk sac diameter (3.5 versus 4.1 mm) and crown-rump length (CRL) (2.9 versus 3.4 mm) compare to control embryos. There was no significant difference between embryos exposed to 5.0 microg/ml Re and control embryos. There was also no difference in the biometric and morphologic parameters among control and embryos exposed to 5.0 and 50.0 microg/ml Rc.

Conclusion: There is a significant variability in embryotoxic effects of different ginsenosides. Further studies to evaluate the synergistic embryotoxic effects of ginsenosides are warranted.

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced* / etiology
  • Abnormalities, Drug-Induced* / pathology
  • Animals
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Embryo, Mammalian / drug effects*
  • Embryo, Mammalian / embryology
  • Embryonic Development / drug effects*
  • Ginsenosides / classification
  • Ginsenosides / toxicity*
  • Panax*
  • Rats
  • Teratogens / classification
  • Teratogens / toxicity*
  • Toxicity Tests


  • Ginsenosides
  • Teratogens
  • ginsenoside Rc
  • ginsenoside Re