Panax quinquefolium saponins protects low density lipoproteins from oxidation.


Li J, Huang M, Teoh H, Man RY




Life Sci


Oxidized low-density lipoprotein (Ox-LDL) is believed to be involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis. Panax quinquefolium saponins (PQS) are extracted from the stems and leaves of the North American form of ginseng, Panax quinquefolium. Earlier studies have suggested that this extract improves the lipid profile of hyperlipidemic rats and has antioxidant properties in cultured rat cardiac myocytes. The aims of the present study were to investigate the potential of PQS in reducing LDL oxidation as well as limiting the ability of Ox-LDL to impair endothelium-dependent relaxation in rat aortic rings. LDL was isolated from the plasma of healthy human donors by sequential ultracentrifugation. Native LDL (0.2 or 0.3 mg/ml) was incubated with PQS (0.25-1 mg/ml) for 30 min at 20 degrees C. For comparison, vitamin C (50 microM) was added in place of PQS. Oxidative modification was initiated with 5 microM CuSO4 at 37 degrees C for 0-24 h. In our hands, PQS concentration-dependently reduced lipid peroxide levels as measured by the amount of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances formed. This range of PQS also retarded the alterations in relative electrophoretic mobility of Ox-LDL in a similar manner. Furthermore, measurement of phospholipid fractions content indicated that PQS could reduce the conversion of phosphatidylcholine to lysophosphatidylcholine in Ox-LDL. Functional studies demonstrated that PQS-pretreated Ox-LDL was less potent than untreated Ox-LDL at impairing endothelium-dependent relaxation in rat aortic rings. In conclusion, our results suggest that PQS has antioxidant properties and that reduction of LDL oxidation by PQS may provide a protective effect against the detrimental actions of Ox-LDL.