General and Genetic Toxicology of Enzyme-Treated Ginseng Extract - Toxicology of Ginseng Rh2+ -

  • Jeong, Mi-Kyung (East West Cancer Center, Dunsan Korean Medicine Hospital of Daejeon University) ;
  • Cho, Chong-Kwan (East West Cancer Center, Dunsan Korean Medicine Hospital of Daejeon University) ;
  • Yoo, Hwa-Seung (East West Cancer Center, Dunsan Korean Medicine Hospital of Daejeon University)
  • Received : 2016.07.06
  • Accepted : 2016.08.08
  • Published : 2016.09.30


Objectives: Ginseng Rh2+ is enzyme-treated ginseng extract containing high amounts of converted ginsenosides, such as compound k, Rh2, Rg3, which have potent anticancer activity. We conducted general and genetic toxicity tests to evaluate the safety of ginseng Rh2+. Methods: An acute oral toxicity test was performed at a high-level dose of 4,000 mg/kg/day in Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats. A 14-day range-finding study was also conducted to set dose levels for the 90-day study. A subchronic 90-day toxicity study was performed at dose levels of 1,000 and 2,000 mg/kg/day to investigate the no-observed-adverse-effect level (NOAEL) of ginseng Rh2+ and target organs. To identify the mutagenic potential of ginseng Rh2+, we conducted a bacterial reverse mutation test (Ames test) using amino-acid-requiring strains of Salmonella typhimurium and Escherichia coli (E. coli), a chromosome aberration test with Chinese hamster lung (CHL) cells, and an in vivo micronucleus test using ICR mice bone marrow as recommended by the Korean Ministry of Food and Drug Safety. Results: According to the results of the acute oral toxicity study, the approximate lethal dose (ALD) of ginseng Rh2+ was estimated to be higher than 4,000 mg/kg. For the 90-day study, no toxicological effect of ginseng Rh2+ was observed in body-weight changes, food consumption, clinical signs, organ weights, histopathology, ophthalmology, and clinical pathology. The NOAEL of ginseng Rh2+ was established to be 2,000 mg/kg/day, and no target organ was found in this test. In addition, no evidence of mutagenicity was found either on the in vitro genotoxicity tests, including the Ames test and the chromosome aberration test, or on the in vivo in mice bone marrow micronucleus test. Conclusion: On the basis of our findings, ginseng Rh2+ is a non-toxic material with no genotoxicity. We expect that ginseng Rh2+ may be used as a novel adjuvant anticancer agent that is safe for long-term administration.


Supported by : MICO Co.


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