Ginseng extract is known to have many beneficial effects, including the reversal of pathological and physiological changes induced by ischemia, stress, and aging. Cisplatin, an effective antineoplastic drug, can cause irreversible sensorineural hearing loss and serious tinnitus in humans; thus cisplatin-induced ototoxicity is a useful experimental model for ototoxicity. This study investigated the protective effects of Korean red ginseng extract on cisplatin-induced ototoxicity in auditory cells. Pretreatment with 2.5 mg/mL of ginseng extract prior to application of 20 μM of cisplatin significantly increased cell viability after 48 h of incubation in auditory cells. Pretreatment with ginseng extract significantly attenuated the cisplatin-induced increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS). Ginseng extract also inhibited the expression of caspase-3 and poly-ADP-ribose polymerase related to cisplatin-induced apoptosis because a major mechanism of cisplatin-induced toxicity involves ROS production. Thus, Korean red ginseng extract can play both an anti-apoptotic and anti-oxidative role on cisplatin-induced ototoxicity in an auditory cell line.
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