Panax ginseng ameliorates airway inflammation in an ovalbumin-sensitized mouse allergic asthma model

J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Jun 14;136(1):230-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2011.04.048. Epub 2011 Apr 28.


Ethnopharmacological relevance: Panax ginseng (PG) is a medicinal herb that has been used to treat various immune diseases including asthma and COPD. In this study, we investigated the inhibitory mechanism of PG on asthma parameters in mice.

Materials and methods: BALB/c mice were sensitized with 20 μg/200 μl OVA adsorbed on 1.0mg/50 μl aluminum hydroxide gel adjuvant by i.p. injection on days 0 and 14. Mice were then challenged with 5% OVA in PBS to the nose for 30 min once a day for 3 days, from day 20 until day 22, using a nebulizer. PG (20mg/kg) or vehicle was administrated by i.p. injection once a day 10 min before every OVA challenge for 3 days. The recruitment of inflammatory cells into bronchoalveolar lavage fluid or lung tissues was measured. The expression of EMBP, Muc5ac, CD40, and CD40 ligand (CD40L) in lung tissues was investigated. In addition, the cytokines and mitogen activated protein (MAP) kinases were measured by RT-PCR and Western blot.

Results and conclusions: PG restored the expression of EMBP, Muc5ac, CD40, and CD40L, as well as the mRNA and protein levels of interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-4, IL-5, and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α. In addition, PG inhibited the numbers of goblet cells and further small G proteins and MAP kinases in bronchoalveolar lavage cells and lung tissues increased in ovalbumin-induced allergic asthma in mice. These results suggest that PG may be used as a therapeutic agent in asthma, based on reductions of various allergic responses.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / pharmacology
  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Asthma / drug therapy*
  • Asthma / metabolism
  • Bronchoalveolar Lavage Fluid / cytology
  • CD40 Antigens / metabolism
  • CD40 Ligand / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Goblet Cells / metabolism
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Inflammation / prevention & control*
  • Lung / drug effects*
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases / metabolism
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Mucin 5AC
  • Ovalbumin
  • Panax*
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Prostatic Secretory Proteins / metabolism
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / metabolism
  • Respiratory Hypersensitivity / prevention & control*


  • Anti-Asthmatic Agents
  • CD40 Antigens
  • Cytokines
  • Muc5ac protein, mouse
  • Mucin 5AC
  • Plant Extracts
  • Prostatic Secretory Proteins
  • RNA, Messenger
  • estramustine-binding protein
  • CD40 Ligand
  • Ovalbumin
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinases
  • Monomeric GTP-Binding Proteins