Chemistry and cancer preventing activities of ginseng saponins and some related triterpenoid compounds.

More than 25 dammarane-type tetracyclic triterpenoid saponins have been isolated from ginseng, the root and rhizome of Panax ginseng C.A. Meyer (Araliaceae). The genuine sapogenins of those saponins, 20(S)-protopanaxa-diol and -triol, were identified as 20(S) 12beta-hydroxy-and 20(S) 6alpha,12beta-dihydroxy-dammarenediol-II, respectively. There are two types of preparations from ginseng: white ginseng prepared by drying after peelling off and red ginseng prepared by steaming and drying. Some partly deglycosylated saponins such as ginsenoside Rh-1, Rh-2, and Rg-3 are obtained from red ginseng as artifacts produced during steaming. Several workers studied the metabolic transformation by human intestinal bacteria after oral administration of ginsenoside Rb-1 and Rb-2 and found that the stepwise deglyco-sylation yielded compound K and finally 20(S)-protopanaxadiol. Ginsenoside Rg-1 was converted into 20(S)-protopanaxatriol via ginsenoside Rh-1. Yun et al. in Korea conducted the epidemiological case-control studies of ginseng and suggested its cancer preventing activities. Kitagawa et al. demonstrated in vitro that ginsenosides, especially 20(R)-ginsenoside Rg-3, specifically inhibited cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Azuma et al. found that ginsenoside Rb-2 inhibited tumor angiogenesis, and Kikuchi et al. reported that ginsenoside Rh-2 inhibited the human ovarian cancer growth in nude mice. Recently, ginsenoside Rg-3 was produced as an anti-angiogenic anti-cancer drug in China. The aforementioned reports suggest that less glycosylated protopanaxadiol derivatives are effective in cancer prevention. Apart from Ginseng tetracyclic triterpenoid saponins, some oleanane-type pentacyclic triterpenoid compounds showed the anti-carcinogenic activity in the two-stage anti-cancer-promotion experiments in vitro and in vivo.
AuthorsS Shibata
JournalJournal of Korean medical science (J Korean Med Sci) Vol. 16 Suppl Pg. S28-37 (Dec 2001) ISSN: 1011-8934 [Print] Korea (South)
PMID11748374 (Publication Type: Journal Article, Review)
Chemical References
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic
  • Sapogenins
  • Saponins
  • Triterpenes
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents, Phytogenic (therapeutic use)
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Neoplasms (prevention & control)
  • Panax (chemistry)
  • Sapogenins (chemistry)
  • Saponins (chemistry, isolation & purification, metabolism, pharmacology)
  • Triterpenes (chemistry, pharmacology)

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