The lymphatic system in the skin plays a major role in tissue fluid homeostasis, in the afferent phase of the immune response, and in tumor metastasis. Although lymphangiogenic factors involved in embryonic development and the metastatic spread of tumor cells have been well studied, little is known about small-molecule compounds that activate lymphatic function, especially under physiological conditions. We hypothesized that the identification of a lymphatic-activating compound could provide a method for improving edema. Here, we show that Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus) and its component eleutheroside E induce phosphorylation of the endothelial-specific receptor Tie2 in vitro. The activation of Tie2 on lymphatic endothelial cells (LECs) is known to stabilize lymphatic vessels, so we examined the effects of Siberian ginseng on LECs. We found that Siberian ginseng induces the migration and cord formation of LECs. Permeability assays demonstrated that it stabilizes LECs by promoting the intercellular localization of vascular endothelial cadherin, which is an endothelium-specific cell-cell adhesion molecule involved in endothelial barrier function, and it induces the phosphorylation of endothelial nitric oxide synthase by LECs. These effects appear to be mediated by the activation of Tie2 in LECs. Finally, we investigated whether the consumption of Siberian ginseng powder improves edema in a 2-way, randomized, crossover study in 50 healthy female volunteers. Edema of the lower limbs was significantly attenuated at 2 and 4hours after ingestion as compared with the control group. Thus, we demonstrate that Siberian ginseng exerts its potent antiedema activity mainly by promoting lymphatic function.
Keywords: Edema; Eleutheroside E; Human; Lymphatic; Siberian ginseng; Tie2.
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