National Research Council of Canada. Measurement Science and Standards
American ginseng; panaxynol; Nrf2; inflammation; macrophages; cardiomyocytes
Ethnopharmacological relevance: American ginseng is capable of ameliorating cardiac dysfunction and activating Nrf2, a master regulator of antioxidant defense, in the heart. This study was designed to isolate compounds from American ginseng and to determine those responsible for the Nrf2-mediated resolution of inflamed macrophage-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. Materials and methods: A standardized crude extract of American ginseng was supplied by the National Research Council of Canada, Institute for National Measurement Standards. A bioassay-based fractionization of American ginseng was performed to identify the putative substances which could activate Nrf2-mediated suppression of pro-inflammatory cytokine expression in macrophages and macrophage-mediated pro-hypertrophic growth in cardiomyocytes. Results: A hexane fraction of an anti-inflammatory crude extract of American ginseng was found to be most effective in suppressing the inflammatory responses in macrophages. Preparative, reverse-phase HPLC and a comparative analysis by analytical scale LC–UV/MS revealed the hexane fraction contains predominantly C17 polyacetylenes and linolenic acid. Panaxynol, one of the major polyacetylenes, was found to be a potent Nrf2 activator. Panaxynol posttranscriptionally activated Nrf2 by inhibiting Kelch-like ECH-associated protein (Keap) 1-mediated degradation without affecting the binding of Keap1 and Nrf2. Moreover, panaxynol suppressed a selected set of cytokine expression via the activation of Nrf2 while minimally regulating nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB)-mediated cytokine expression in macrophages. It also dramatically inhibited the inflamed macrophage-mediated cardiomyocyte death and hypertrophy by activating Nrf2 in macrophages. Conclusions: These results demonstrate that American ginseng-derived panaxynol is a specific Nrf2 activator and panaxynol-activated Nrf2 signaling is at least partly responsible for American ginseng-induced health benefit in the heart.