Ginsenoside Rb1 and Rg1 are major components of Panax notoginseng (P.N.), an herb with known clinical efficacy in hypertension and myocardial ischemia in Eastern countries. This investigation is to elicit the mechanism of these components in hypertension via their effect on vascular reaction. To assess the ability of P.N. in hypertension, P.N. extracts were injected in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) via the vena caudalis; Low dosages of P.N. extracts significantly lowered blood pressure in SHR. Examination with Rb1 and Rg1 revealed significant vasodilatation using mouse coronary arteries in a dose-dependent manner. Rb1- and Rg1-induced vasodilatation was blocked by pre-incubation with eNOS and PI3K inhibitors. Coronaries of eNOS-/- mice showed attenuated vasodilatation with Rb1 and Rg1. In addition, both Rb1 and Rg1 induce nitric oxide (NO) generation through increasing the phosphorylation of eNOS, activating Na+-independent l-arginine transport, and stimulating cationic amino acid transport (CAT)-1 mRNA expression in cultured endothelial cells.
Conclusion: Ginsenoside Rb1 and Rg1 increased endothelial-dependent vessel dilatation through the activation of NO by modulating the PI3K/Akt/eNOS pathway and l-arginine transport in endothelial cells. These findings may have important implications for understanding the mechanisms of clinical efficacy of the herb P.N. when used in the regulation of blood pressure.
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