The relaxant effect of ginseng saponin on the bladder and prostatic urethra: An in vitro and in vivo study

H. A. Jang, S. Cho, Sung-Gu Kang, Y. H. Ko, Seok Ho Kang, Jae Hyun Bae, Jun Cheon, Je-Jong Kim, Jeong Gu Lee

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4 Citations (Scopus)


Aim: To assess the effects of ginseng saponin on relaxation of the bladder and prostatic urethra and to determine its mechanism of action. Materials and Methods: For the in vitro study, prostatic urethra muscle strips were harvested from 18 male New Zealand rabbits. The strips were mounted in organ baths and connected to force displacement transducers. After stabilization, maximal tissue contractions were obtained by the application of phenylepinephrine to the urethra strips, and a dose-response curve for ginseng saponin was constructed (10 -6-10 -2M). After pretreatment of urethra strips with N-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME), another dose-response curve for ginseng saponin was constructed. For the in vivo study, we used adult male Sprague-Dawley rats divided into three groups [control, partial bladder outlet obstruction (PBOO) and saponin-fed groups], and we monitored the vesical pressure (P ves) and urethral perfusion pressure (UPP). Results: The ginseng saponin induced a significant dose-dependent relaxant effect on the prostatic urethra strips. A significant relaxant effect of ginseng saponin was observed from 10 -3M, and ginseng saponin significantly relaxed urethra strips by 50.2 ± 20.26% at 10 -2M. The relaxant effect was partially inhibited with L-NAME pretreatment. In the in vivo study, the change in UPP between baseline and relaxation was significantly higher in the saponin group than in the control or PBOO group (p < 0.001). The saponin group showed a significantly lower baseline P ves than the PBOO group. Conclusions: We observed a significant relaxation effect of ginseng saponin on the bladder and prostatic urethra in both in vitro and in vivo studies. The mechanism by which ginseng saponin induces relaxation appears to involve the nitric oxide/nitric oxide synthase pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-469
Number of pages7
JournalUrologia Internationalis
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Jun 1



  • Benign prostatic hyperplasia
  • Ginseng
  • Lower urinary tract symptoms
  • Nitric oxide
  • Saponin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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