Saengmaeksan, a traditional polyherbal formulation containing Panax ginseng, improves energy metabolism during exercise

Suji Baek, Jisu Kim, Myung Hee Nam, Sun Mi Park, Tae Sup Lee, Seo Young Kang, Ji Young Kim, Hai Jeon Yoon, Seung Hae Kwon, Jonghoon Park, Sang Ju Lee, Seung Jun Oh, Kiwon Lim, Bom Sahn Kim, Kang Pa Lee, Byung Seok Moon

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Saengmaeksan (SMS), a representative oriental medicine that contains Panax ginseng Meyer, Liriope muscari, and Schisandra chinensis (1:2:1), is used to improve body vitality and enhance physical activity. However, there is limited scientific evidence to validate the benefits of SMS. Here, we investigated the in vitro and in vivo regulatory effects of SMS and its constituents on energy metabolism and the underlying molecular mechanisms. For this, quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction, 3D holotomographic microscopy, western blotting, and glucose uptake experiments using 18F-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (18F-FDG) were performed using L6 cells to investigate in vitro energy metabolism changes. In addition, 18F-fluorocholine (18F-FCH) and 18F-FDG positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT) analyses, immunohistochemistry, and respiratory gas analysis were performed in mice postendurance exercise on a treadmill. In the energy metabolism of L6 cells, a significant reversal in glucose uptake was observed in the SMS-treated group, as opposed to an increase in uptake over time compared to the untreated control group. Furthermore, P. ginseng alone and SMS significantly decreased the volume of lipid droplets. SMS also regulated the phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK), phosphorylation of p38, mitochondrial morphology, and the expression of apurinic/apyrimidinic endonuclease 1/redox factor-1 (APE/Ref-1) in H2O2-stimulated L6 cells. In addition, SMS treatment was found to regulate whole body and muscle energy metabolism in rats subjected to high-intensity exercise, as well as glucose and lipid metabolism in skeletal muscle. Therefore, SMS containing P. ginseng ameliorated imbalanced energy metabolism through oxidative stress-induced APE/Ref- 1 expression. SMS may be a promising supplemental option for metabolic performance.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0296487
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number1 January
StatePublished - Jan 2024

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© 2024 Baek et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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