Effect of ginseng saponins on cold tolerance in young and elderly rats.


Wang LC, Lee TF




Planta Med


Acute systemic injection of ginseng saponin (GS) significantly elevated both the total and maximum heat production in young rats (3-6 months) and improved their cold tolerance under severe cold (-10 degrees C under helium-oxygen). However, pretreating the animal with the optimal dose (10 mg/kg) of GS devoid of Rg1 and Rb1 failed to elicit any beneficial effect in improving the cold tolerance. Pretreating the animal with Rb1, but not Rg1, increased thermogenesis as well as cold tolerance in young rats. A similar beneficial effect in improving cold tolerance was also observed when old rats (26-28 months) were pretreated with the same doses of Rb1 (2.5 and 5.0 mg/kg). Our results indicate that Rb1 is the key ingredient in GS-mediated enhancement in thermogenic capacity and that both young and old rats can benefit from this treatment for enhanced cold tolerance.