Ginseng Herbal Remedy Protects Brain by Improving Blood Flow After Stroke Injury

Jenn Hoskins
29th June, 2024

Ginseng Herbal Remedy Protects Brain by Improving Blood Flow After Stroke Injury

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine found that ginseng aconitum decoction (GAD) helps repair the blood-brain barrier (BBB) after ischemic stroke
  • GAD significantly reduced leakage in BBB models and increased the expression of critical tight junction proteins
  • In a mouse model of ischemic stroke, GAD treatment reduced IgG leakage and upregulated tight junction proteins, showing better results than Chinese ginseng or aconite alone
Ischemic stroke (IS) is a critical medical condition that arises when blood flow to the brain is obstructed, leading to brain cell damage and loss of neurological function. A key factor in the progression of IS is the early damage to the blood-brain barrier (BBB), a protective barrier that regulates the exchange of substances between the bloodstream and the brain. Repairing the BBB is crucial for mitigating IS damage and improving patient outcomes. Researchers at Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Capital Medical University conducted a study to explore the effects of a traditional prescription, ginseng aconitum decoction (GAD), on BBB disruption and its underlying mechanisms[1]. The study utilized both in vitro and in vivo models to evaluate the impact of GAD on the BBB. In vitro models of the BBB were established using brain endothelial cells (bEnd.3). The researchers found that GAD significantly reduced the leakage of a fluorescent probe, FITC-dextran, indicating enhanced barrier integrity (P < 0.01). Additionally, GAD increased the expression of tight junction proteins Claudin-5 and ZO-1, which are critical components of the BBB (P < 0.05). To further investigate the protective effects of GAD on the BBB in vivo, the researchers used a mouse model of IS. They divided 25 male C57/BL6 mice into five groups: Sham (saline), MCAO (middle cerebral artery occlusion, saline), MCAO + CG (Chinese ginseng 8 mg/kg/day), MCAO + AC (aconite 8 mg/kg/day), and MCAO + GAD (GAD 8 mg/kg/day). The results showed that GAD treatment reduced IgG leakage (P < 0.05) and upregulated the expression of tight junction proteins Claudin-5, Occludin, and ZO-1 (P < 0.05). These findings suggest that GAD effectively ameliorates BBB dysfunction after IS. The study also delved into the mechanisms behind GAD's protective effects. It was found that fatty acid oxidation (FAO) in vascular endothelial cells plays a role in BBB protection after cerebral IS. GAD was shown to regulate FAO, contributing to the maintenance of BBB integrity (P < 0.05). Furthermore, the researchers discovered that GAD's effects were more potent than those of Chinese ginseng (P < 0.05) and aconite (P < 0.01) alone, indicating that the combination of these traditional medicines in GAD is more effective than the individual components. The findings of this study align with previous research on the role of inflammation and BBB integrity in cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. For instance, a meta-analysis of colchicine, an anti-inflammatory drug, showed that it could reduce the incidence of stroke in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD)[2]. This underscores the importance of targeting inflammation and BBB integrity in treating cerebrovascular conditions. Additionally, understanding the composition and function of the BBB has been crucial for developing innovative approaches to drug delivery for neurological disorders[3]. The study by Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Capital Medical University provides valuable insights into the potential of GAD as a therapeutic agent for IS. By demonstrating that GAD can enhance BBB integrity and regulate FAO, the researchers have highlighted a promising avenue for improving IS treatment outcomes. This research not only builds on previous findings but also offers a new perspective on the use of traditional medicine in modern medical applications.



Main Study

1) Ginseng aconitum decoction (Shenfu Tang) provides neuroprotection by ameliorating impairment of blood-brain barrier in cerebral ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Published 26th June, 2024

Related Studies

2) Colchicine for the prevention of ischemic stroke: An updated meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials.

3) In-vitro blood-brain barrier models for drug screening and permeation studies: an overview.

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