Panax ginseng extract antagonizes the effect of DKK‑1-induced catagen-like changes of hair follicles

Int J Mol Med. 2017 Oct;40(4):1194-1200. doi: 10.3892/ijmm.2017.3107. Epub 2017 Aug 25.


It is well known that Panax ginseng (PG) has various pharmacological effects such as anti-aging and anti-inflammation. In a previous study, the authors identified that PG extract induced hair growth by means of a mechanism similar to that of minoxidil. In the present study, the inhibitory effect of PG extract on Dickkopf-1 (DKK-1)-induced catagen-like changes in hair follicles (HFs) was investigated in addition to the underlying mechanism of action. The effects of PG extract on cell proliferation, anti-apoptotic effect, and hair growth were observed using cultured outer root sheath (ORS) keratinocytes and human HFs with or without DKK-1 treatment. The PG extract significantly stimulated proliferation and inhibited apoptosis, respectively, in ORS keratinocytes. PG extract treatment affected the expression of apoptosis-related genes Bcl-2 and Bax. DKK-1 inhibited hair growth, and PG extract dramatically reversed the effect of DKK-1 on ex vivo human hair organ culture. PG extract antagonizes DKK-1-induced catagen-like changes, in part, through the regulation of apoptosis-related gene expression in HFs. These findings suggested that PG extract may reduce hair loss despite the presence of DKK-1, a strong catagen inducer via apoptosis.

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Apoptosis / genetics
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hair Follicle / cytology
  • Hair Follicle / drug effects*
  • Hair Follicle / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins / pharmacology*
  • Keratinocytes / cytology
  • Keratinocytes / drug effects*
  • Keratinocytes / metabolism
  • Minoxidil / pharmacology
  • Panax / chemistry*
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Primary Cell Culture
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / agonists
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / genetics
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2 / metabolism
  • Vasodilator Agents / pharmacology
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / antagonists & inhibitors
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / genetics
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein / metabolism


  • BAX protein, human
  • BCL2 protein, human
  • DKK1 protein, human
  • Intercellular Signaling Peptides and Proteins
  • Plant Extracts
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-bcl-2
  • Vasodilator Agents
  • bcl-2-Associated X Protein
  • Minoxidil