The American journal of Chinese medicine

Antioxidant protection by American ginseng in pancreatic beta-cells.

PMID 19051362


Hyperglycemia in diabetic conditions may cause oxidative stress in pancreatic beta-cells, leading to their dysfunction and insulin resistance within peripheral tissues. Previous studies suggest that American ginseng berry extract may have hypoglycemic effects, as well as offer antioxidant protection. We examined effects of American ginseng berry extract and ginsenoside Re in a pancreatic beta-cell line, MIN-6, to determine if these two properties are related. Cells were exposed to oxidative stress via hydrogen peroxide incubation and oxidative stress was measured by oxidation of 2',7'-dichlorofluorescin diacetate. These cells showed a concentration-related response to hydrogen peroxide at 100-500 microM. In acute conditions where cells were treated with the extract for 10 min, we observed reduced oxidant injury suggesting direct scavenging effects. Chronic incubation of cells with the extract for 48 hours also demonstrated attenuation of oxidative stress. At high concentrations, Re showed a mild antioxidant effect in MIN-6 cells. Our insulin release observations also showed that the extract may help to increase insulin secretions from the cells. Our data suggest that the observed ability of ginseng to reduce blood glucose levels may be linked to its antioxidant effects on pancreatic beta-cells.