Ginsenoside Rg3 improves cardiac mitochondrial population quality: mimetic exercise training

Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Nov 8;441(1):169-74. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.10.039. Epub 2013 Oct 15.


Emerging evidence indicates exercise training could mediate mitochondrial quality control through the improvement of mitochondrial dynamics. Ginsenoside Rg3 (Rg3), one of the active ingredients in Panax ginseng, is well known in herbal medicine as a tonic and restorative agent. However, the molecular mechanism underlying the beneficial effects of Rg3 has been elusive. In the present study, we compared the effects of Rg3 administration with aerobic exercise on mitochondrial adaptation in cardiac muscle tissue of Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. Three groups of SD rats were studied: (1) sedentary control, (2) Rg3-treated and (3) aerobic exercise trained. Both aerobic exercise training and Rg3 supplementation enhanced peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor coactivator 1 alpha (PGC-1α) and nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) protein levels in cardiac muscle. The activation of PGC-1α led to increased mRNA levels of mitochondrial transcription factor A (Tfam) and nuclear related factor 1(Nrf1), these changes were accompanied by increases in mitochondrial DNA copy number and complex protein levels, while activation of Nrf2 increased levels of phase II detoxifying enzymes, including nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate:quinone oxidoreductase 1(NQO1), superoxide dismutase (MnSOD) and catalase. Aerobic exercise also enhanced mitochondrial autophagy pathway activity, including increased conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II and greater expression of beclin1 and autophagy-related protein 7 (ATG7), these effects of aerobic exercise are comparable to that of Rg3. These results demonstrate that Rg3 mimics improved cardiac adaptations to exercise by regulating mitochondria dynamic remodeling and enhancing the quantity and quality of mitochondria.

Keywords: Aerobic exercise; Cardiac muscle; Ginsenoside Rg3; Mitochondrial quality control.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenylate Kinase / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Ginsenosides / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Mitochondria, Heart / drug effects
  • Mitochondria, Heart / metabolism*
  • Mitochondria, Heart / ultrastructure
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics / drug effects
  • Myocardium / ultrastructure
  • Physical Conditioning, Animal*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Antioxidants
  • Ginsenosides
  • ginsenoside Rg3
  • Adenylate Kinase