Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Cytotoxicities of ginseng saponins and their degradation products against some cancer cell lines

  • 150 Accesses

  • 42 Citations


In order to elucidate the cytotoxicity-structure correlation of ginseng-derived components, several prosapogenins and sapogenins were prepared from Korean red ginseng (Panax ginseng) saponins by acid hydrolysis or alkaline cleveage, and their chemical structures were identified by a combination of spectral and physical methods. Some of these degradation products showed the cytotoxic activities against various cancer cell lines, A549, SK-OV-3, SK-Mel-2, P388, L 1210 and K562. The significant difference in cytotoxicity between stereoisomers was not found and the activity was inversely proportional to the number of sugars linked to sapogenins. Diol-type prosapogenins and sapogenins showed higher cytotoxicity than triol-type ones.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References Cited

  1. Ahn, B. Z. and Kim, S. I., 1,8t-Heptadecadiene-4,6-diyne-3,10-diol, a further cytotoxic substances from Korean ginseng roots which is active against L1210 cells.Planta Medica, 54, 183 (1988).

  2. Asakawa, J., Kasai, R., Yamasaki, K. and Tanaka, O.,13C-NMR study of ginseng sapogenins and their related dammarane type triterpenes.Tetrahedron, 33, 1935–1940 (1977).

  3. Chen, Y., Xu, S., Ma, Q. and Yao, X., Minor saponins from the leaves ofPanax ginseng C.A. Meyer. J. Shenyang College Pharm., 4, 282–289 (1987).

  4. Hwang, W. I. and Cha, S. M., A cytotoxic activity of extract ofPanax ginseng root against some cancer cellsin vitro andin vivo. Proc. 2nd Intl. Ginseng Sym. KOREA, 43–49 (1978).

  5. Kaku, T. and Kawashima, Y., Isolation and characterization of ginsenoside-Rg2, 20R-prosapogenin, 20S-prosapogenin and Δ20-prosapogein.Arzneim. Forsch. Drug Res., 30, 936–943 (1980).

  6. Katano, M., Yamamoto, H. and Matsunaga, H., A tumor growth inhibitory substance isolated fromPanax ginseng. Proc. 5th Intl. Ginseng Sym. KOREA, 33–35 (1988).

  7. Kikuchi, Y., Kotode, K., Hirata, Z., Kita, T., Imamizu, H. and Hagata, I., Cytotoxic effects of ginsenoside Rh1 against some cancer cells.Abst. Yakuyou Ninzin Kenkyukai JAPAN, 2 (1993).

  8. Kim, S. I., Kang, K. S. and Lee, Y. H., Panaxyne epoxide, a new cytotoxic polyyne fromPanax ginseng root against L1210 cells.Arch. Pharm. Res., 12, 48–51 (1989).

  9. Kim, S. I., Baek, N.-I., Kim, D. S., Lee, Y. H., Kang, K. S. and Park, J. D., Preparation of a 20(R)-ginsenoside Rh2 and the 20(S)-epimer from protopanaxadiol saponins ofPanax ginseng C. A. Meyer.Yakhak Hoeji, 35, 432–437 (1991).

  10. Kitagawa, I., Yoshikawa, M., Yoshihara, M., Hayashi, T. and Taniyama, T., Chemical studies on crude drug procession.Yakugaku Zasshi, 103, 612–619 (1983).

  11. Kitagawa, I., Chemical studies on crude drug processing-red ginseng and white ginseng.Proc. 4th Intl. Ginseng Sym. KOREA, 159–168 (1984).

  12. Skehan, P., Storeng, R., Scudiero, D., Monks, A., Mcmahon, J., Vistica, D., Warren, J. T., Bokesch, H., Kenney, S. and Boyd, M. R., New colorimetric cytotoxic assay for anticancer-drug screening.J. National Cancer Institute, 82, 1107–1112 (1990).

  13. Woo, L. K. and Nakamura, Y., Cytotoxic activities of alkaloidal fraction ofPanax ginseng against some cancer cells.Arch. Ital. Pathol. Clinics, 8, 53–57 (1965).

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to Nam-In Baek.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Baek, N., Kim, D.S., Lee, Y.H. et al. Cytotoxicities of ginseng saponins and their degradation products against some cancer cell lines. Arch. Pharm. Res. 18, 164–168 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02979189

Download citation

Key words

  • Panax ginseng
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Ginsenosides
  • Prosapogenins
  • Sapogenins
  • Structure-cytotoxicity Relationship