2015 Volume 38 Issue 2 Pages 239-247
Postoperative fatigue syndrome (POFS) is a common complication which decelerates recovery after surgery. The present study investigated the anti-fatigue effect of ginsenoside Rb1 (GRb1) through the inflammatory cytokine-mediated N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor pathway. A POFS rat model was created by major small intestinal resection and assessed with an open field test. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction, western blot analysis, high performance liquid chromatography and a transmission electron microscopic analysis were used to determine typical biochemical parameters in the hippocampus. Our results showed that POFS rats exhibited fatigue associated with an increased expression of inflammatory cytokines and NMDA receptor 1, higher (kynurenine)/(tryptophan) and (kynurenine)/(kynurenic acid) on postoperative days 1 and 3, and an increased expression of indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) on postoperative day 1. Degenerated neurons were found in the hippocampus of POFS rats. The NMDA receptor antagonist MK801 had a significant effect on central fatigue on postoperative day 1. GRb1 had no effect on IDO or tryptophan metabolism, but exhibited a significant effect on POFS by inhibiting the expression of inflammatory cytokines and NMDA receptor 1. These data suggested that inflammatory cytokines could activate tryptophan metabolism to cause POFS through the NMDA receptor pathway. GRb1 had an anti-fatigue effect on POFS by reducing inflammatory cytokines and NMDA receptors.