Hexane Fraction of American Ginseng Suppresses Colitis and Colon Cancer-Letter

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 111 Alexander Drive, Research Triangle Park, NC 27709. .
Cancer Prevention Research (Impact Factor: 4.44). 05/2012; 5(7):982; author reply 983. DOI: 10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-12-0079
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Available from: James Huff, Oct 01, 2015
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    ABSTRACT: Ginseng has been used by man for thousands of years, and Oriental folk medicine describes it as both a tonic for restoration of strength and a panacea (hence, the genus Panax, meaning all healing). The term 'ginseng' can refer to any of 22 related plants, but it is generally associated with P ginseng. Ginseng is classified pharmacologically as an adaptogen, because experimental studies suggest that it helps the body adapt to stress and corrects adrenal and thyroid dysfunction. The active principles are a mixture of glycosides, consisting of steroidal saponins, bound to various sugars. The most common route of administration is ingestion of the root, which has a sweet and slightly aromatic taste. Recently I have seen a number of intoxications requiring clinical attention. Patients whom I have seen at the Neuropsychiatric Institute of the University of California at Los Angeles suffered from chronic insomnia, nervousness, and loose stools, among other problems. These cases prompted an investigation of long-term ginseng users.
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    ABSTRACT: Ulcerative colitis is a chronic inflammatory condition associated with a high colon cancer risk. We have previously reported that American ginseng extract significantly reduced the inflammatory parameters of chemically induced colitis. The aim of this study was to further delineate the components of American ginseng that suppress colitis and prevent colon cancer. Among five different fractions of American ginseng (butanol, hexane, ethylacetate, dichloromethane, and water), a hexane fraction has particularly potent antioxidant and proapoptotic properties. The effects of this fraction were shown in a mouse macrophage cell line (ANA-1 cells), in a human lymphoblastoid cell line (TK6), and in an ex vivo model (CD4(+)/CD25(-) primary effector T cells). A key in vivo finding was that compared with the whole American ginseng extract, the hexane fraction of American ginseng was more potent in treating colitis in a dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) mouse model, as well as suppressing azoxymethane/DSS-induced colon cancer. Furthermore, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling (TUNEL) labeling of inflammatory cells within the colonic mesenteric lymph nodes was elevated in mice consuming DSS + the hexane fraction of American ginseng. Results are consistent with our in vitro data and with the hypothesis that the hexane fraction of American ginseng has anti-inflammatory properties and drives inflammatory cell apoptosis in vivo, providing a mechanism by which this fraction protects from colitis in this DSS mouse model. This study moves us closer to understanding the molecular components of American ginseng that suppress colitis and prevent colon cancer associated with colitis.
    Cancer Prevention Research 02/2012; 5(4):685-96. DOI:10.1158/1940-6207.CAPR-11-0421 · 4.44 Impact Factor