Archives of Pharmacal Research

, Volume 26, Issue 1, pp 58–63 | Cite as

Ginsenoside-Rb1 acts as a weak phytoestrogen in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells

  • Young Joo LeeEmail author
  • Young Ran Jin
  • Won Chung Lim
  • Wan Kyu Park
  • Jung Yoon Cho
  • Siyoul Jang
  • Seung Ki Lee
Research Articles Articles


Ginseng has been recommended to alleviate the menopausal symptoms, which indicates that components of ginseng very likely contain estrogenic activity. We have examined the possibility that a component ofPanax ginseng, ginsenoside-Rb1, acts by binding to estrogen receptor. We have investigated the estrogenic activity of ginsenoside-Rb1, in a transient transfection system using estrogen-responsive luciferase plasmids in MCF-7 cells. Ginsenoside-Rbb1 activated the transcription of the estrogen-responsive luciferase reporter gene in MCF-7 breast cancer cells at a concentration of 50 μM. Activation was inhibited by the specific estrogen receptor antagonist ICI 182,780, indicating that the estrogenic effect of ginsenoside-Rbb1 is estrogen receptor dependent. Next, we evaluated the ability of ginsenoside-Rbb1, to induce the estrogen-responsive gene c-fos by semi-quantitative RT-PCR assays and Western analyses. Ginsenoside-Rbb1 increased c-fos both at mRNA and protein levels. However, ginsenoside-Rbb1 failed to activate the glucocorticoid receptor, the retinoic acid receptor, or the androgen receptor in CV-1 cells transiently transfected with the corresponding steroid hormone receptors and hormone responsive reporter plasmids. These data support our hypothesis that ginsenoside-Rbb1 acts a weak phytoestrogen, presumably by binding and activating the estrogen receptor.

Key words

Ginseng Ginsenoside-Rbb1 Estrogen receptor Phytoestrogen 


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Copyright information

© The Pharmaceutical Society of Korea 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Young Joo Lee
    • 1
    Email author
  • Young Ran Jin
    • 2
  • Won Chung Lim
    • 1
  • Wan Kyu Park
    • 1
  • Jung Yoon Cho
    • 1
  • Siyoul Jang
    • 3
  • Seung Ki Lee
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Engineering, Institute of Biotechnology, Department of Bioscience and BiotechnologySejong UniversitySeoulKorea
  2. 2.College of PharmacySeoul National UniversitySeoulKorea
  3. 3.College of EngineeringKookmin UniversitySeoulKorea

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