Ginsenoside Rb1 reduces fatty liver by activating AMP-activated protein kinase in obese rats

Ling Shen, Ye Xiong, David Q.H. Wang, Philip Howles, Joshua E. Basford, Jiang Wang, Yu Qing Xiong, David Y. Hui, Stephen C. Woods, Min Liu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Scopus citations


Ginsenoside Rb1 (Rb1), a natural compound extracted from ginseng, exerts anti-obesity activity and improves insulin sensitivity in high-fat diet (HFD)-induced obese rats. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the protective effect of Rb1 on fatty liver in HFD-induced obese rats and to elucidate underlying mechanisms. After chronic intraperitoneal administration, Rb1 (10 mg/kg) signifi cantly ameliorated hepatic fat accumulation in HFD-induced obese rats, as demonstrated by reduced liver weight, hepatic triglyceride content, and histological evaluation of liver sections by hematoxylin and eosin and Oil Red O staining. Using primary cultured rat hepatic cells, we found that the rate of fatty acid oxidation and the activity of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1), a key enzyme in fatty acid β-oxidation, were signifi cantly elevated in Rb1-treated hepatocytes compared with those of vehicle-treated cells. HPLC analysis revealed that Rb1 increased the cellular AMP/ATP ratio, which is associated with elevated activation of hepatic AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) and phosphorylated acetyl-CoA carboxylase. Consistent with the activation of AMPK, Rb1 stimulated the expression of genes encoding fatty acid oxidative enzymes and proteins, and suppressed the expression of genes encoding enzymes or proteins that function in lipogenesis, assessed by quantitative PCR. We conclude that Rb1 has a potent ability to reduce hepatic fat accumulation and might be useful as a therapeutic agent for fatty liver disorder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1430-1438
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Lipid Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Fatty liver
  • Ginseng
  • Obesity
  • Signaling pathway

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Cell Biology


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