Antiarrhythmic effects of ginsenoside Rg2 on calcium chloride-induced arrhythmias without oral toxicity

J Ginseng Res. 2020 Sep;44(5):717-724. doi: 10.1016/j.jgr.2019.06.005. Epub 2019 Jun 22.


Background: Malignant arrhythmias require drug therapy. However, most of the currently available antiarrhythmic drugs have significant side effects. Ginsenoside Rg2 exhibits excellent cardioprotective effects and appears to be a promising candidate for cardiovascular drug development. So far, the oral toxicity and antiarrhythmic effects of Rg2 have not been evaluated.

Methods: Acute oral toxicity of Rg2 was assessed by the Limit Test method in mice. Subchronic oral toxicity was determined by repeated dose 28-day toxicity study in rats. Antiarrhythmic activities of Rg2 were evaluated in calcium chloride-induced arrhythmic rats. Antiarrhythmic mechanism of Rg2 was investigated in arrhythmic rats and H9c2 cardiomyocytes.

Results: The results of toxicity studies indicated that Rg2 exhibited no single-dose (10 g/kg) acute oral toxicity. And 28-day repeated dose treatment with Rg2 (1.75, 3.5 and 5 g/kg/d) demonstrated minimal, if any, subchronic toxicity. Serum biochemical examination showed that total cholesterol in the high-dose cohort was dramatically decreased, whereas prothrombin time was increased at Day 28, suggesting that Rg2 might regulate lipid metabolism and have a potential anticoagulant effect. Moreover, pretreatment with Rg2 showed antiarrhythmic effects on the rat model of calcium chloride induced arrhythmia, in terms of the reduced duration time, mortality, and incidence of malignant arrhythmias. The antiarrhythmic mechanism of Rg2 might be the inhibition of calcium influx through L-type calcium channels by suppressing the phosphorylation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II.

Conclusion: Our findings support the development of Rg2 as a promising antiarrhythmic drug with fewer side effects for clinical use.

Keywords: Acute oral toxicity; Antiarrhythmia; Ginsenoside Rg2; Oral sub-chronic toxicity.