2 Jul 2013 (Tuesday)

HKBU’s Biology team explores Ginseng’s health and therapeutic potentials from scientific perspective
浸大生物系團隊從科學角度解構人參在保健及醫療等潛在療效


Professor Ricky Wong has spent more than 10 years studying the impact of the active constituents of ginseng on human cells, providing a solid ground to its potential application on healthcare treatments
黃岳順教授花了十多年時間深入研究人參不同成分對人體細胞的影響,目標是評估人參對人體的潛在療效。

Ginseng has been widely recognised for its body strengthening and skincare properties. Professor Ricky Wong, Chair Professor, and his research team from the Department of Biology at HKBU have spent more than 10 years studying the impact of ginsenosides, the active constituents of ginseng, on human cells such as inducing collagen expression, angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels) and cytoprotective effect. During the course of their research, the team has released several papers pointing to the potential application of the properties of ginsenosides in healthcare and therapeutic treatments.

 

Professor Wong’s team used human skin cells to demonstrate that ginseng extract can induce collagen synthesis directly through activation of the signaling pathway. Higher concentrations of ginsenoside Rb1 is able to increase the production of collagen in a time- and dose-dependent manner. For a long time, the beauty industry has proclaimed the value of collagen synthesis in tackling wrinkle formation, a primary characteristic of skin aging. (Figure 1)

 

The team also found that Rb1 can promote adipogenesis, the formation of adipocytes (or fat cells) from precursor stem cells. Rb1 interacts with the receptor in adipose tissue, promoting the deposition of oil droplets without affecting cell viability, and promotes the adipogenic activity. During the process, fat storage capacity is elevated, which may lessen the symptoms of type 2 diabetes, a disease that is associated with an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Thus, the findings illustrate the anti-diabetic effect of Rb1 and its therapeutic potential in type 2 diabetes.

 

In another research project, Professor Wong’s team identified the role of ginsenosides as an angiogenic agent involved in the stimulation or suppression of certain diseases. The results show that Rg1, mediating and regulating the expression of certain microRNA, plays an important role in angiogenesis-related processes such as wound healing. On the other hand, the ginsenoside 20(R)-Rg3 was shown as an angiogenesis inhibitor which can inhibit the development of cancer. (Figure 2)

 

Cigarettes and barbecued food contain carcinogens which cause damage to DNA. The ginsenoside 20(S)-Rg3 facilitates enzyme reactions that convert carcinogens into less toxic substances that can be discharged from the body. This lessens the damage caused to cells and DNA due to the intake of carcinogenic substances. In addition, Professor Wong’s research reveals that the ginsenoside PPT and Re help reduce the inflammation and cell death of vascular endothelial cells caused by the influenza virus respectively. In other words, ginsenosides may play an important role in fighting influenza (H9N2). (Figure 3)

 

Professor Wong believes that the significance of this work is to use advanced technology to explore the effects of ginseng at the molecular level, thus providing a solid foundation for its future development. Having mentioned the significance of various forms of ginsenosides, Professor Wong added that further scientific investigation is required to assess the overall effectiveness of ginseng on human.

 

 

Enclosure: a summary of the major influences of various forms of ginsenosides on human cells

一直以來很多文獻都記載了人參具滋補功能及美容療效。浸大生物系講座教授黃岳順教授與團隊花了十多年時間,對人參的各種療效基理作深入研究。團隊從科學角度探討人參不同的活性成分對人體細胞的影響,例如骨膠原合成、改善血管增生、對細胞的保護作用等,至今已發表多份研究報告,希望最終可確定人參在保健及醫療上的潛在療效。

 

黃教授與團隊證實人參內活性成分Rb1能透過激發細胞內荷爾蒙受體族群,直接誘發人體皮膚細胞(纖維組織細胞)的骨膠原蛋白合成。實驗過程中,隨著Rb1的劑量和培養時間增加,人體皮膚細胞的骨膠原合成亦相應增加,而增加骨膠原一向被美容界視為對抗因年齡增長而產生皺紋的有效方法。(圖表一

 

團隊亦發現人參的Rb1與脂肪細胞內的受體結合後,有助增加人體脂肪細胞的脂肪儲存量,降低脂肪流到血管,從而降低血液脂肪濃度。血液脂肪積累會導致肥胖,並誘發各種心血管疾病如心臟病、中風等。因此,研究提出了Rb1對第二類糖尿病產生的潛在療效。

 

在另一項研究中,研究團隊透過人參的不同成分提升或抑制病變的過程。實驗證明人參Rg1能刺激人體血管內皮細胞,通過誘發及調解作用,生產出各種血管生長因子和受體,促使新血管形成。因此,增加活性成分Rg1對傷口癒合等有所幫助。然而,不同的人參活性成分有相對的功能,例如提升20(R)-Rg3 用量,則有抑制血管及癌細胞生長的作用。(圖表二

 

此外,香煙及燒烤食物中所含的致癌物質,能破壞人體脫氧核醣核酸(DNA)。人參活性成分20(S)-Rg3可增加解毒酶素的活性,透過轉化過程減輕致癌物的毒性,幫助有毒物質排出體外,從而減輕致癌物質對細胞及DNA造成的破損,達到保健作用。黃教授的研究亦證實人參活性成分PPTRe分別有助人體內皮細胞對抗流感病毒引起的發炎,及減少因流感病毒引致的血管細胞死亡。因此,人參間接對人體抵抗甲型流感病毒(H9N2)起著重要的作用。(圖表三

 

黃教授認為有關研究的最大意義,是利用先進科技從分子生物學的層面,了解人參的不同成分對人體的影響,鞏固了日後的研究基礎。黃教授補充,必須進一步經過科學研究,才能評估人參的多種成分對人體的實際療效。

 

附件﹕各種人參活性成分對人體皮膚細胞的影響
 

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