Modulation of radiation-induced alterations in oxidative stress and cytokine expression in lung tissue by Panax ginseng extract

Phytother Res. 2015 Feb;29(2):201-9. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5223. Epub 2014 Sep 15.


We investigated the modulating effect of Panax ginseng extract (PGE) on radiation-induced lung injury (RILI) by measuring early changes in oxidative stress levels, cytokine expression, and the histopathology of mouse lung tissue treated with high dose of X-ray radiation. The mice were pretreated with 25, 50, and 100-mg/kg doses of PGE orally for four consecutive days, and their thoraces were then exposed to 15-Gy X-ray radiation 1 h after the last administration of PGE on day 4. The pretreatments with 50 and 100 mg/kg PGE led to significant reductions in the elevation of lipid peroxidation levels at 2 and 10 days, respectively, after irradiation. The mice pretreated with PGE exhibited dose-dependent reductions in the irradiation-induced production of tumor necrosis factor α and transforming growth factor β1 cytokines 10 days after irradiation, with these reductions nearly reaching the control levels after the 100-mg/kg dose. Furthermore, together with providing significant protection against reductions in catalase activity and glutathione content, pretreatment with 100 mg/kg PGE resulted in a marked attenuation of the severity of inflammatory changes in lung tissue 10 days after irradiation. A high pretreatment dose of PGE may be a useful pharmacological approach for protection against RILI.

Keywords: Ginseng; cytokine; lung injury; oxidative stress; radiation.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Glutathione / metabolism
  • Lipid Peroxidation / drug effects
  • Lung / metabolism
  • Lung / pathology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects*
  • Oxidative Stress / radiation effects
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Radiation Injuries, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1 / metabolism
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism
  • X-Rays


  • Cytokines
  • Plant Extracts
  • Transforming Growth Factor beta1
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Catalase
  • Glutathione