Ginsenoside Re rapidly reverses insulin resistance in muscles of high-fat diet fed rats

Metabolism. 2012 Nov;61(11):1615-21. doi: 10.1016/j.metabol.2012.04.008. Epub 2012 May 8.


Objective: In a previous study, it was found that a ginseng berry extract with a high content of the ginsenoside Re normalized blood glucose in ob/ob mice. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effect of the ginsenoside Re on insulin resistance of glucose transport in muscles of rats made insulin resistant with a high-fat diet.

Material/method: Rats were fed either rat chow or a high-fat diet for 5 weeks. The rats were then euthanized, and insulin stimulated glucose transport activity was measured in epitrochlearis and soleus muscle strips in vitro.

Results: Treatment of muscles with Re alone had no effect on glucose transport. The high-fat diet resulted in ~50% decreases in insulin responsiveness of GLUT4 translocation to the cell surface and glucose transport in epitrochlearis and soleus muscles. Treatment of muscles with Re in vitro for 90 min completely reversed the high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance of glucose transport and GLUT4 translocation. This effect of Re is specific for insulin stimulated glucose transport, as Re treatment did not reverse the high-fat diet-induced resistance of skeletal muscle glucose transport to stimulation by contractions or hypoxia.

Conclusions: Our results show that the ginsenoside Re induces a remarkably rapid reversal of high-fat diet-induced insulin resistance of muscle glucose transport by reversing the impairment of insulin-stimulated GLUT4 translocation to the cell surface.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Ginsenosides / pharmacology*
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insulin / metabolism
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Muscle, Skeletal / metabolism
  • Muscle, Skeletal / physiopathology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Signal Transduction


  • Ginsenosides
  • Insulin
  • ginsenoside Re
  • Adenylate Kinase
  • Glucose