Ginseng has been used to alleviate age-related dementia and memory deterioration for thousands of years. This study investigated the protective effect of red ginseng saponins against scopolamine-induced cerebral injury. Meanwhile, pharmacokinetics of ginsenosides in normal and scopolamine-treated rats were compared. After scopolamine injection, glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase levels were significantly decreased when compared with control group. Compared with SA group, pretreatment of rats with red ginseng saponins could increase glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase level. Treatment with red ginseng saponins significantly decreased malondialdehyde level. In the pharmacokinetic analysis, a pattern recognition analysis method was used to investigate the pharmacokinetics of the absorbed compounds in blood. The pharmacokinetic parameters of Rg1, Rg2, Rh3, Rg5 and Rk1 in model group had higher area under the curve (AUC), mean residence time (MRT) and peak plasma concentration (Cmax) values; area under the curve (AUC) values and peak plasma concentration (Cmax) of model group was significantly different from that of normal group (p
< 0.05). The Cmax value of Rk3, Rh1, Rh2 and Rh4 in model group was higher than normal group, but their AUC values were not significantly different. There was no significantly difference in time at Cmax (Tmax), AUC and Cmax values of Rb1, Rb2 Re, Rc, Rd and Rf between the model and normal group. 16 ginsenosides were grouped into three separate clusters according to principal component analysis (PCA) score plot based on pharmacokinetic data. The results suggested red ginseng saponins have significant protective effect against scopolamine-induced memory deficit and scopolamine-induced rats could lead to the changes of pharmacokinetic behaviors of ginsenosides.
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