The protective effects of notoginseng against hepatic damage were investigated in mice. To prepare a model animal of hepatitis, a mixture of lipopolysaccharide and galactosamine (LPS/GAlN) was administered intraperitoneally, leading to the impairment of hepatic function. Extracts of notoginseng or its components (ginsenoside Rb1 and ginsenoside Rg1) were orally administered 2 h before LPS/GalN injection. Eight hours after LPS/GalN injection, blood and liver tissue samples were collected. The levels of serum aspartate amino transferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α, and interferon (IFN)-γ were measured using commercial assay kits. Histologic changes in the tissue samples were also observed after hematoxylin-eosin staining. LPS/GalN administration increased the serum levels of AST and ALT, and histologic changes were noted, indicating hepatic cell damage. Prior to the increase in ALT, the serum levels of TNF-α and IFN-γ were elevated after LPS/GalN injection. Pretreatment of the mice with either notoginseng extract or gensenoside Rb1 and Rg1 attenuated the LPS/GalN-induced hepatic damage markedly. The protective effects of the components against hepatic damage appeared to be less potent than those of the crude extract and prescription of notoginseng. Notoginseng may be clinically useful in patients with hepatitis.
2012 by the PHARMACEUTICAL SOCIETY OF JAPAN