Panax ginseng is a valuable traditional Chinese medicine in Northeast China. Ginsenoside, the active component of ginseng, has not been investigated much for its effects on aging and its underlying mechanism(s) of action. Here, we investigated the effects of total ginsenoside (TG), a mixture of the primary active ginsenosides from Panax ginseng, on the lifespan of Caenorhabditis elegans (C. elegans). We found that TG extended the lifespan of C. elegans and reduced lipofuscin accumulation. Moreover, TG increased the survival of C. elegans in response to heat and oxidative stress via the reduction of ROS. Next, we used RNA-seq to fully define the antiaging mechanism(s) of TG. The KEGG pathway analysis showed that TG can prolong the lifespan and is involved in the longevity regulating pathway. qPCR showed that TG upregulated the expression of nrh-80, daf-12, daf-16, hsf-1 and their downstream genes. TG also reduced the fat accumulation and promoted lipid metabolism. Moreover, TG failed to extend the lifespan of daf-16 and hsf-1 mutants, highlighting their role in the antiaging effects of TG in C. elegans. The four main constitution of TG were then confirmed by HPLC and included ginsenoside Re, Rg1, Rg2 and Rd. Of the ginsenosides, only ginsenoside Rd prolonged the lifespan of C. elegans to levels comparable to TG. These findings provided mechanistic insight into the antiaging effects of ginsenoside in C. elegans.
Keywords: Caenorhabditis elegans; Panax ginseng; lifespan; lipid metabolism; stress-resistant.