Planta Med 1985; 51(3): 221-224
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-969463
Research Articles

© Georg Thieme Verlag Stuttgart · New York

Ginseng Saponins: Influence on Neurotransmitter Uptake in Rat Brain Synaptosomes

D. Tsang, H. W. Yeung, W. w. Tso, H. Peck
  • Department of Biochemistry, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, Hong Kong
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Publication History



Publication Date:
26 February 2007 (online)


The total ginsenoside (n-butanol extract) fraction inhibited the uptake of radioactive γ-aminobutyrate (GABA), glutamate (Glu), dopamine (DA), noradrenaline (NA), serotonin (5-HT), but not the uptake of 2-deoxy-D-glucose (2-DG) and leucine (Leu) into rat brain Synaptosomes. Among the ginsenoside fractions investigated, Fraction III which contains mainly Rd was most effective in reducing the uptake of neurotransmitters. The inhibition was in the order of GABA = NA > DA > Glu > 5-HT, and this effect was concentration-dependent. This inhibitory effect appears to be specific as this fraction, at several concentrations, failed to influence the uptake of 2-DG and Leu significantly. Similar studies indicated that ginsenoside Rc could affect neurotransmitter uptake specifically as well. Since the GABA uptake was most sensitive to the inhibitory action of these ginsenosides, it is postulated that ginseng may exert its action(s) in the central nervous system by affecting the removal of neurotransmitter substances in synaptic regions and that the GABA-nergic neurons may be one of the major sites of action.