Panax ginseng C. A. Meyer (ginseng) is an edible and medicinal Chinese herb, which is often used in Asian countries for physical fitness. Ginseng is reported to have a wide range of biological activity and pharmaceutical properties. There were more studies on ginsenosides and polysaccharides, but fewer studies on ginseng oligopeptides (GOP), which are small molecule oligopeptides isolated from ginseng. The present study was designed to evaluate the anti-fatigue effects of GOP in mice and explore the possible underlying mechanism. Mice were randomly divided into four experimental sets for the detection of different indicators. Each set of mice were then divided into four groups. The control group was administered distilled water, and three GOP intervention groups were administered 125, 250, and 500 mg/kg of body weight, respectively, of GOP by gavage each day. After 30 days of GOP treatment, it was observed that GOP could significantly increase the forced swimming time, enhance lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activity and hepatic glycogen levels, and retard the accumulation of serum urea nitrogen (SUN) and blood lactic acid (BLA) in mice. GOP also markedly ameliorated fatigue-induced alterations of inoxidative stress biomarkers and antioxidant enzymes. Notably, GOP increased the mRNA expression of mitochondrial biogenesis factors and mitochondrial DNA content in skeletal muscles of mice. These results suggest that GOP possess anti-fatigue effects, which may be attributed to the inhibition of oxidative stress and the improvement of mitochondrial function in skeletal muscles. GOP could be a novel natural agent for relieving exercise fatigue.
Keywords: anti-fatigue; forced swimming test; ginseng oligopeptides.