Acidic polysaccharide of Panax ginseng as a defense against small intestinal damage by whole-body gamma irradiation of mice

Acta Histochem. 2011 Jan;113(1):19-23. doi: 10.1016/j.acthis.2009.07.003. Epub 2009 Sep 19.


An acidic polysaccharide of Panax ginseng (APG), ginsan, has been reported to protect the hematopoietic system by increasing the number of bone marrow cells and spleen cells. Therefore, we evaluated the ability of APG to protect mice from radiation-induced damage of the small intestine. APG treatment caused the lengthening of villi and a numerical increase of crypt cells in the small intestine at 3.5 days after 7Gy irradiation compared to irradiated, non-treated controls. In addition, APG significantly inhibited irradiation-induced apoptosis by decreasing the amount of pro-apoptotic p53 and Bax as well as augmenting that of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 at 24h after irradiation. These results indicate that APG might be a useful adjunct to therapeutic irradiation as a protective agent for the gastrointestinal tract of cancer patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Apoptosis / radiation effects*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Count
  • Eosine Yellowish-(YS)
  • Female
  • Gamma Rays
  • Hematoxylin
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Mucosa / drug effects
  • Intestinal Mucosa / metabolism
  • Intestinal Mucosa / physiopathology*
  • Intestine, Small / drug effects*
  • Intestine, Small / metabolism
  • Intestine, Small / physiopathology*
  • Intestine, Small / radiation effects*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Panax* / chemistry
  • Polysaccharides* / administration & dosage
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / metabolism*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Radiation-Protective Agents* / administration & dosage
  • Radiation-Protective Agents* / chemistry
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53 / metabolism*
  • Whole-Body Irradiation
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism*


  • Bax protein, mouse
  • Polysaccharides
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Radiation-Protective Agents
  • Tumor Suppressor Protein p53
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • ginsan
  • Bcl2 protein, mouse
  • Eosine Yellowish-(YS)
  • Hematoxylin