Background and purpose: Ginsenosides are bioactive saponins derived from Panax notoginseng roots (Sanqi) and ginseng. Here, the molecular mechanisms governing differential pharmacokinetics of 20(S)-protopanaxatriol-type ginsenoside Rg1 , ginsenoside Re and notoginsenoside R1 and 20(S)-protopanaxadiol-type ginsenosides Rb1, Rc and Rd were elucidated.
Experimental approach: Interactions of ginsenosides with human and rat hepatobiliary transporters were characterized at the cellular and vesicular levels. A rifampin-based inhibition study in rats evaluated the in vivo role of organic anion-transporting polypeptide (Oatp)1b2. Plasma protein binding was assessed by equilibrium dialysis. Drug-drug interaction indices were calculated to estimate potential for clinically relevant ginsenoside-mediated interactions due to inhibition of human OATP1Bs.
Key results: All the ginsenosides were bound to human OATP1B3 and rat Oatp1b2 but only the 20(S)-protopanaxatriol-type ginsenosides were transported. Human multidrug resistance-associated protein (MRP)2/breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP)/bile salt export pump (BSEP)/multidrug resistance protein-1 and rat Mrp2/Bcrp/Bsep also mediated the transport of the 20(S)-protopanaxatriol-type ginsenosides. Glomerular-filtration-based renal excretion of the 20(S)-protopanaxatriol-type ginsenosides was greater than that of the 20(S)-protopanaxadiol-type counterparts due to differences in plasma protein binding. Rifampin-impaired hepatobiliary excretion of the 20(S)-protopanaxatriol-type ginsenosides was effectively compensated by the renal excretion in rats. The 20(S)-protopanaxadiol-type ginsenosides were potent inhibitors of OATP1B3.
Conclusion and implications: Differences in hepatobiliary and in renal excretory clearances caused markedly different systemic exposure and different elimination kinetics between the two types of ginsenosides. Caution should be exercised with the long-circulating 20(S)-protopanaxadiol-type ginsenosides as they could induce hepatobiliary herb-drug interactions, particularly when patients receive long-term therapies with high-dose i.v. Sanqi or ginseng extracts.
© 2014 The British Pharmacological Society.