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Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) improves insulin sensitivity and attenuates the development of diabetes in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty rats

  • Hyun Joo Lee
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Yong-ho Lee
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea

    Department of Medicine, Graduate School, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Sang Kyu Park
    Affiliations
    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Eun Seok Kang
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea

    Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Hyo-Jeong Kim
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Eulgi University College of Medicine, Daejon 301-110, Korea
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  • Young Chul Lee
    Affiliations
    Korean Food Research Institute, Sungnam 463-746, Korea
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  • Cheol Soo Choi
    Affiliations
    Korean Mouse Metabolic Phenotyping Center, Gachon University of Medicine and Science, Incheon, 406-799, Korea
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  • Se Eun Park
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Chul Woo Ahn
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea

    Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Bong Soo Cha
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea

    Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Kwan Woo Lee
    Affiliations
    Department of Endocrinology, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon 443-380, Korea
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  • Kyung-Sup Kim
    Affiliations
    Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Sung Kil Lim
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea

    Department of Medicine, Graduate School, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea

    Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
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  • Hyun Chul Lee
    Correspondence
    Corresponding author. Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, 250 Seongsanno, Seodaemun-gu, Seoul 120-752, Korea. Tel.: +82 2 2228 1943; fax: +82 2 393 3561.
    Affiliations
    Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea

    Department of Medicine, Graduate School, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea

    Brain Korea 21 Project for Medical Science, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul 120-752, Korea
    Search for articles by this author

      Abstract

      Ginseng has been reported to ameliorate hyperglycemia in experimental and clinical studies; however, its mechanism of action remains unclear. In this study, we investigated the metabolic effects and putative molecular mechanisms of Korean red ginseng (KRG, Panax ginseng) in animal models for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and peripheral insulin-responsive cell lines. Korean red ginseng was administered orally at a dose of 200 mg/(kg d) to Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty rats for 40 weeks. Initially, chronic administration of KRG reduced weight gain and visceral fat mass in the early period without altering food intake. The KRG-treated Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima fatty rats showed improved insulin sensitivity and significantly preserved glucose tolerance compared with untreated control animals up to 50 weeks of age, implying that KRG attenuated the development of overt diabetes. KRG promoted fatty acid oxidation by the activation of adenosine monophosphate–activated protein kinase (AMPK) and phosphorylation of acetyl–coenzyme A carboxylase in skeletal muscle and cultured C2C12 muscle cells. Increased expression of peroxisome proliferator–activated receptor–γ coactivator–1α, nuclear respiratory factor–1, cytochrome c, cytochrome c oxidase–4, and glucose transporter 4 by KRG treatment indicates that activated AMPK also enhanced mitochondrial biogenesis and glucose utilization in skeletal muscle. Although these findings suggest that KRG is likely to have beneficial effects on the amelioration of insulin resistance and the prevention of T2DM through the activation of AMPK, further clinical studies are required to evaluate the use of KRG as a supplementary agent for T2DM.
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