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    Our previous research had indicated that the octyl ester derivative of ginsenoside Rh2 (Rh2-O) might have a higher bioavailability than Rh2 in the Caco-2 cell line. The aim of this study was to investigate the cellular uptake and antitumor effects of Rh2-O in human HepG2 cells as well as its underlying mechanism compared with Rh2. Results showed that Rh2-O exhibited a higher cellular uptake (63.24%) than Rh2 (36.76%) when incubated with HepG2 cells for 24 h. Rh2-O possessed a dose- and time-dependent inhibitory effect against the proliferation of HepG2 cells. The IC50 value of Rh2-O for inhibition of HepG2 cell proliferation was 20.15 μM, which was roughly half the value of Rh2. Rh2-O induced apoptosis of HepG2 cells through a mitochondrial-mediated intrinsic pathway. In addition, the accumulation of ROS was detected in Rh2-O-treated HepG2 cells, which participated in the apoptosis of HepG2 cells. Conclusively, the findings above all suggested that Rh2-O as well as Rh2 inducing HepG2 cells apoptosis might involve similar mechanisms; however, Rh2-O had better antitumor activities than Rh2, probably due to its higher cellular uptake.


    Fang Chen, Ze-Yuan Deng, Bing Zhang, Zeng-Xing Xiong, Shi-Lian Zheng, Chao-Li Tan, Jiang-Ning Hu. Esterification of Ginsenoside Rh2 Enhanced Its Cellular Uptake and Antitumor Activity in Human HepG2 Cells. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2016 Jan 13;64(1):253-61

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    PMID: 26672619

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