Metabolic syndrome including obesity, dyslipidemia and hypertension is a cluster of risk factors of cardiovascular disease. Fermentation of medicinal herbs improves their pharmacological efficacy. Red ginseng (RG), a widely used traditional herbal medicine, was reported with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant activity. Aim in the present study was to investigate that the effects of fermented red ginseng (FRG) on a high-fructose (HF) diet induced metabolic disorders, and those effects were compared to RG and losartan. Animals were divided into four groups: a control group fed a regular diet and tap water, and fructose groups that were fed a 60% high-fructose (HF) diet with/without RG 250 mg/kg/day or FRG 250 mg/kg/day for eight weeks, respectively. Treatment with FRG significantly suppressed the increments of body weight, liver weight, epididymal fat weight and adipocyte size. Moreover, FRG significantly prevented the development of metabolic disturbances such as hyperlipidemia and hypertension. Staining with Oil-red-o demonstrated a marked increase of hepatic accumulation of triglycerides, and this increase was prevented by FRG. FRG ameliorated endothelial dysfunction by downregulation of endothelin-1 (ET-1) and adhesion molecules in the aorta. In addition, FRG induced markedly upregulation of Insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS-1) and glucose transporter type 4 (Glut4) in the muscle. These results indicate that FRG ameliorates obesity, dyslipidemia, hypertension and fatty liver in HF diet rats. More favorable pharmacological effects on HF diet induced metabolic disorders were observed with FRG, compared to an equal dose of RG. These results showed that the pharmacological activity of RG was enhanced by fermentation. Taken together, fermentated red ginseng might be a beneficial therapeutic approach for metabolic syndrome.
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