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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 972040, 10 pages
Research Article

Induction of Thioredoxin Reductase 1 by Korean Red Ginseng Water Extract Regulates Cytoprotective Effects on Human Endothelial Cells

1Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea
2Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea

Received 31 March 2015; Accepted 18 June 2015

Academic Editor: Maria Camilla Bergonzi

Copyright © 2015 Hye Rim Park 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.


Korean Red Ginseng is a popular herbal medicine and is widely used in many food products. KRG has biological benefits related to vascular diseases including diabetes, hypertension, atherosclerosis, and other cardiac diseases and KRG has antioxidant and anti-hyperlipidemic actions. KRG decreases the level of oxidative stress and suppresses proinflammatory cytokines and cell adhesion molecules, thus protecting endothelial dysfunction. Mammalian Thioredoxin reductase 1 is an NADPH-dependent selenoprotein, essential for antioxidant defense and DNA synthesis and repair, that regulates the redox system by modulating redox-sensitive transcription factors and thiol-containing proteins. Here, we show that KRG water extract increases the expression of TrxR1 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells via the p38 and PKC-δ signaling pathways. The induction of TrxR1 expression by KRG was confirmed by Western blot analysis and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. However, the increase in TrxR1 expression was abolished by specific silencing of the p38 and PKC-δ genes. In addition, we demonstrated that auranofin, a TrxR1 inhibitor, weakens the protective effect of KRG against H2O2-induced cell death as measured by the terminal transferase dUTP nick end labeling assay. These results suggest that KRG may have protective effects in vascular diseases by upregulating TrxR1 in endothelial cells, thereby inhibiting the generation of reactive oxygen species and cell death.