Panax ginseng Improves Functional Recovery after Contusive Spinal Cord Injury by Regulating the Inflammatory Response in Rats: An In Vivo Study

Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015:2015:817096. doi: 10.1155/2015/817096. Epub 2015 Sep 15.


Spinal cord injury (SCI) results in permanent loss of motor function below the injured site. Neuroinflammatory reaction following SCI can aggravate neural injury and functional impairment. Ginseng is well known to possess anti-inflammatory effects. The present study investigated the neuroprotective effects of Panax ginseng C.A. Mayer (P. ginseng) after SCI. A spinal contusion was made at the T11-12 spinal cord in adult male Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 47) using the NYU impactor. Motor function was assessed using the Basso-Beattie-Bresnahan (BBB) score in P. ginseng (0.1, 0.5, 1, 3, and 5 mg/kg) or vehicle (saline) treated after SCI. We also assessed the protein expression of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) at the lesion site by western blot and then measured the cavity area using luxol fast blue/cresyl violet staining. P. ginseng treated group in SCI showed a significant improvement in locomotor function after the injury. The protein expression of COX-2 and iNOS at the lesion site and the cavity area were decreased following SCI by P. ginseng treatment. These results suggest that P. ginseng may improve the recovery of motor function after SCI which provides neuroprotection by alleviating posttraumatic inflammatory responses.