Ginseng Extract G115 Attenuates Ethanol-Induced Depression in Mice by Increasing Brain BDNF Levels

Nutrients. 2017 Aug 24;9(9):931. doi: 10.3390/nu9090931.


The decrease of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) has been reported in alcohol use disorder and major depression. The effective treatment of these comorbid diseases remains undiscovered. Nutraceutical products are therefore proposed as an alternative approach to overcome this challenge. Ginseng extract G115, the standardized extract of Panax ginseng, is a widely-used nutraceutical that is beneficial for various central nervous system disorders. This study aimed to determine the antidepressant effect of ginseng extract G115 in ethanol-treated mice models. Mice received either water, amitriptyline, or various doses of G115 (p.o.) followed by water or ethanol (i.p.) for 8 days. The antidepressant activity was evaluated using forced swimming test. BDNF levels were measured from hippocampal and prefrontal cortex tissues. The results demonstrated that the increase of immobility time in depressant mice induced by ethanol was reversed by both G115 and amitriptyline treatment. A significant increase of BDNF levels in the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex was observed in ethanol-treated mice receiving G115. Taken together, this study provides scientific information on the use of G115 as an antidepressant that could be further used as a dietary supplement in comorbid alcohol use and major depressive disorders.

Keywords: BDNF; Panax ginseng; depression; ethanol; ginseng extract G115; mice.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Amitriptyline / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antidepressive Agents / isolation & purification
  • Antidepressive Agents / pharmacology*
  • Behavior, Animal / drug effects
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor / metabolism*
  • Depression / chemically induced
  • Depression / metabolism
  • Depression / prevention & control*
  • Depression / psychology
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Ethanol*
  • Hippocampus / drug effects*
  • Hippocampus / metabolism
  • Locomotion / drug effects
  • Male
  • Mice, Inbred ICR
  • Panax* / chemistry
  • Phytotherapy
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plants, Medicinal
  • Prefrontal Cortex / drug effects*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / metabolism
  • Swimming
  • Up-Regulation


  • Antidepressive Agents
  • Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
  • Plant Extracts
  • Amitriptyline
  • Ethanol