Background & objectives: Panax ginseng has been used as a traditional medicine for many years mainly among Asian peoples for developing physical strength. We undertook this study to determine the immune-enhancement effect of P. ginseng using a forced swimming test (FST) and by measuring cytokine production in MOLT-4 cell culture and mouse peritoneal macrophages.
Methods: P. ginseng was orally administered to mice once a day for 7 days. The anti-immobility effect of P. ginseng on the FST and blood biochemical parameters related to fatigue, glucose (Glc); blood urea nitrogen (BUN); latic dehydrogenase (LDH); total protein (TP) and production of cytokines in human T cell line, MOLT-4 cells and mouse peritoneal macrophages were investigated.
Results: After two and seven days, the immobility time was decreased in the P. ginsengadministrated mice as compared to the control group; however, this reduction was not significant. In addition, the amount of TP in the blood serum was significantly increased. However, the levels of Glc, BUN, and LDH did not show a significant change. P. ginseng significantly (P<0.05) increased interferon (IFN)-gamma production and expression as compared to control at 48 h in MOLT-4 cells. P. ginseng plus recombinant IFN-gamma instead of P. ginseng alone significantly increased the production of the tumour necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha in the mouse peritoneal macrophages.
Interpretation & conclusion: Our results suggest that P. ginseng may be useful for an immune promoter. Further studies are needed to understand the mechanism of its action.