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BioMed Research International
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 7171404, 12 pages
Research Article

Ginsenoside Rg1 Attenuates Cigarette Smoke-Induced Pulmonary Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition via Inhibition of the TGF-β1/Smad Pathway

Department of Respiratory Medicine, Xinhua Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, 1665 Kongjiang Road, Shanghai 200092, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Qian Liu; moc.liamtoh@0891_naiquil and Xuejun Guo; moc.621@4691jxoug

Received 11 March 2017; Revised 24 May 2017; Accepted 27 June 2017; Published 13 August 2017

Academic Editor: Jeroen T. Buijs

Copyright © 2017 Sibin Guan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a process associated with airway remodeling in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which leads to progressive pulmonary destruction. Panax ginseng is a traditional herbal medicine that has been shown to improve pulmonary function and exercise capacity in patients with COPD. Ginsenoside Rg1 is one of the main active components and was shown to inhibit oxidative stress and inflammation. The present study investigated the hypothesis that ginsenoside Rg1 attenuates EMT in COPD rats induced by cigarette smoke (CS) and human bronchial epithelial (HBE) cells exposed to cigarette smoke extract (CSE). Our data showed that CS or CSE exposure increased expression of the mesenchymal marker α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and decreased expression of the epithelial marker epithelial cadherin (E-cad) in both lung tissues and HBE cells, which was markedly suppressed by ginsenoside Rg1. Importantly, CS-induced upregulation of TGF-β1/Smad pathway components, including TGF-β1, TGF-βR1, phospho-Smad2, and phospho-Smad3, was also inhibited by ginsenoside Rg1. Additionally, ginsenoside Rg1 mimicked the effect of SB525334, a TGF-βR1-Smad2/3 inhibitor, on suppression of EMT in CSE-induced HBE cells. Collectively, we concluded that ginsenoside Rg1 alleviates CS-induced pulmonary EMT, in both COPD rats and HBE cells, via inhibition of the TGF-β1/Smad pathway.