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Journal of medicinal food

Red ginseng extract promotes the hair growth in cultured human hair follicles.


PMID 25396716

Abstract

Ginseng has been shown to promote hair growth in several recent studies. However, its effects on human hair follicles and its mechanisms of action have not been sufficiently elucidated. This study aimed to investigate the hair growth-promoting effects of red ginseng extract (RGE) and its ginsenosides. The proliferative activities of cultured human hair follicles treated with RGE and ginsenoside-Rb1 were assessed using Ki-67 immunostaining. Their effects on isolated human dermal papilla cells (hDPCs) were evaluated using cytotoxicity assays, immunoblot analysis of signaling proteins, and the determination of associated growth factors. We examined the ability of RGE and ginsenosides to protect hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation against dihydrotestosterone (DHT)-induced suppression and their effects on the expression of androgen receptor. The in vivo hair growth-promoting effect of RGE was also investigated in C57BL/6 mice. Both RGE and ginsenoside-Rb1 enhanced the proliferation of hair matrix keratinocytes. hDPCs treated with RGE or ginsenoside-Rb1 exhibited substantial cell proliferation and the associated phosphorylation of ERK and AKT. Moreover, RGE, ginsenoside-Rb1, and ginsenoside-Rg3 abrogated the DHT-induced suppression of hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation and the DHT-induced upregulation of the mRNA expression of androgen receptor in hDPCs. Murine experiments revealed that the subcutaneous injection of 3% RGE resulted in more rapid hair growth than the negative control. In conclusion, RGE and its ginsenosides may enhance hDPC proliferation, activate ERK and AKT signaling pathways in hDPCs, upregulate hair matrix keratinocyte proliferation, and inhibit the DHT-induced androgen receptor transcription. These results suggest that red ginseng may promote hair growth in humans.

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