Therapeutic effect of Korean red ginseng on inflammatory cytokines in rats with focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury

Am J Chin Med. 2011;39(1):83-94. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X1100866X.


This study aims to identify the therapeutic effect of Korean red ginseng (KRG) on the expression of inflammatory cytokines in rats with focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats were subjected to transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) for two hours. They were fed KRG extract (100 mg/kg/day per orally) or saline after reperfusion. Tests for neurological deficits, using the modified neurologic severity score and the corner turn test, were performed before the ischemic event, and one, three, and seven days after tMCAO. Serum levels of cytokines were measured three and seven days after the operation, using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. The infarct volume was assessed after seven days by staining brain tissue with 2% 2, 3, 5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride. Oral administration of KRG significantly reduced the infarct volumes and rapidly improved neurological deficits. Serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α), interleukin-1 beta (IL-1β), and IL-6 were higher in tMCAO-operated rats than in the sham-operated rats. These changes were attenuated by daily KRG intake for seven days. Serum IL-10 levels were significantly increased in KRG-fed rats, as compared to sham-operated and saline-fed rats. Our results suggested that KRG provides neuroprotection for rats with focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury. This neuroprotection may be due to raised IL-10 expression and a reduction in the serum levels of TNF-α, IL-1β, and IL-6.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Ischemia / blood
  • Brain Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Brain Ischemia / pathology
  • Cerebral Infarction / blood
  • Cerebral Infarction / prevention & control
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Infarction, Middle Cerebral Artery
  • Male
  • Neuroprotective Agents / pharmacology
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Panax*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Reperfusion Injury / blood
  • Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*


  • Cytokines
  • Neuroprotective Agents
  • Plant Extracts