The cardioprotective effects of ginseng root extracts have been reported. However, nothing is known about the myocardial actions of the phenolic compounds enriched in ginseng berry. Therefore, this study was undertaken to investigate the effects of American ginseng berry extract (GBE) in an experimental model of myocardial infarction (MI). Coronary artery ligation was performed on Sprague⁻Dawley male rats to induce MI after which animals were randomized into groups receiving either distilled water or GBE intragastrically for 8 weeks. Echocardiography and assays for malondialdehyde (MDA) and TNF-α were conducted. Flow cytometry was used to test the effects of GBE on T cell phenotypes and cytokine production. Although GBE did not improve the cardiac functional parameters, it significantly attenuated oxidative stress in post-MI rat hearts. GBE treatment also resulted in lower than control levels of TNF-α in post-MI rat hearts indicating a strong neutralizing effect of GBE on this cytokine. However, there was no effect of GBE on the proportion of different T cell subsets or ex-vivo cytokine production. Taken together, the present study demonstrates GBE reduces oxidative stress, however no effect on cardiac structure and function in post-MI rats. Moreover, reduction of TNF-α levels below baseline raises concern regarding its use as prophylactic or preventive adjunct therapy in cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Panax quinquefolius; ginseng berry; myocardial infarction; phenolic compounds.