Ginsenoside Rg1 Helps Heal Spinal Cord Injuries by Boosting Blood Vessel Growth

Jim Crocker
7th July, 2024

Ginsenoside Rg1 Helps Heal Spinal Cord Injuries by Boosting Blood Vessel Growth

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • The study from Soochow University found that ginsenoside Rg1 promotes the formation of new blood vessels in the spinal cord after injury
  • Rats treated with ginsenoside Rg1 showed significant improvement in motor function and increased blood vessel formation compared to untreated rats
  • The beneficial effects of ginsenoside Rg1 were linked to the activation of the JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway in astrocytes, enhancing the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is a debilitating condition leading to long-term neurological deficits due to endothelial cell death and blood vessel rupture. Encouraging spinal angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, has emerged as a promising therapeutic strategy for SCI. Recent research from Soochow University has investigated the potential of ginsenoside Rg1, a major active component of ginseng, in promoting angiogenesis and aiding recovery from SCI[1]. Ginsenoside Rg1 is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-apoptotic, anti-oxidative stress, and neuroprotective properties. This study aimed to validate its capacity to stimulate angiogenesis within the spinal cord, which could significantly improve functional recovery after SCI. The researchers used rats with SCI and administered ginsenoside Rg1 intraperitoneally. They assessed its effectiveness through motor function scores and motor-evoked potentials (MEP), alongside immunofluorescence techniques to identify angiogenesis in the spinal cord. The results were promising. Rats treated with ginsenoside Rg1 showed significant functional recovery and more pronounced angiogenesis compared to the control group. The expression levels of angiogenic factors were higher, indicating an enhanced capacity for blood vessel formation. In vitro experiments further supported these findings. A co-culture system involving spinal cord microvascular endothelial cells (SCMECs) and astrocytes (As) treated with ginsenoside Rg1 showed improved proliferation, migration, and tube formation of SCMECs. These effects were linked to the upregulation of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in astrocytes via the janus kinase 2 (JAK2)/signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) signaling pathway. This study builds on previous research that highlights the importance of angiogenesis in neurological recovery. For instance, a study demonstrated that ginsenoside Rg1 promotes cerebral angiogenesis through the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway after ischemic stroke, suggesting its broader potential in neurovascular conditions[2]. Additionally, another study showed that exosomes derived from human urine stem cells (USC-Exo) embedded in hydrogel could enhance spinal cord functional recovery by promoting angiogenesis, mediated by the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway[3]. These findings collectively underscore the therapeutic potential of targeting angiogenesis in SCI and other neurological conditions. Interestingly, the role of astrocytes in SCI recovery has been a topic of debate. A study revealed that astrocyte scar formation, traditionally viewed as inhibitory to axon regrowth, actually aids central nervous system axon regeneration by expressing multiple axon-growth-supporting molecules[4]. This aligns with the current study's findings, where ginsenoside Rg1 regulated astrocytes to promote angiogenesis, further supporting their beneficial role in SCI recovery. Moreover, the JAK2-STAT3 pathway's involvement in regulating astrocyte reactivity and neuroinflammation has been previously documented. Inhibiting this pathway improved pathological outcomes in Alzheimer's disease models by reducing amyloid deposition and restoring synaptic deficits[5]. The current study's identification of the JAK2/STAT3 pathway in promoting VEGF expression in astrocytes adds another layer of understanding to its role in neuroprotection and recovery. In summary, the research from Soochow University provides compelling evidence that ginsenoside Rg1 can promote angiogenesis and improve functional recovery in SCI by regulating astrocytes via the JAK2/STAT3 pathway. This study not only expands our understanding of ginsenoside Rg1's therapeutic potential but also integrates previous findings on angiogenesis and astrocyte reactivity, highlighting new avenues for SCI treatment and recovery.



Main Study

1) Ginsenoside Rg1 regulates astrocytes to promote angiogenesis in spinal cord injury via the JAK2/STAT3 signaling pathway.

Published 4th July, 2024

Related Studies

2) Ginsenoside Rg1 promotes cerebral angiogenesis via the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway in ischemic mice.

3) Local delivery of USC-derived exosomes harboring ANGPTL3 enhances spinal cord functional recovery after injury by promoting angiogenesis.

4) Astrocyte scar formation aids central nervous system axon regeneration.

5) Modulation of astrocyte reactivity improves functional deficits in mouse models of Alzheimer's disease.

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