Treatment with Mountain-Cultivated Ginseng Alleviates Trimethyltin-Induced Cognitive Impairments in Mice via IL-6-Dependent JAK2/STAT3/ERK Signaling
received 21 December 2016
revised 02 May 2017
accepted 13 May 2017
30 May 2017 (eFirst)
Panax ginseng is the most widely used herbal medicine for improving cognitive functions. The pharmacological activity and underlying mechanisms of mountain-cultivated ginseng, however, have yet to be clearly elucidated, in particular, against trimethyltin-induced cognitive dysfunction. We previously reported that interleukin-6 plays a protective role against trimethyltin-induced cognitive dysfunction. Because of this, we have implemented a study system that uses interleukin-6 null (−/−) and wild-type mice. Interestingly, mountain-cultivated ginseng significantly upregulated interleukin-6 expression. With this study, we sought to determine whether the interleukin-6-dependent modulation of the Janus kinase 2/signal transducer activator of transcription 3 and extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling network is also associated with the pharmacological activity of mountain-cultivated ginseng against trimethyltin-induced cognitive dysfunction. Trimethyltin treatment (2.4 mg/kg, intraperitoneal) causes the downregulation of Janus kinase 2/signal transducer activator of transcription 3, extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling, and impairment of the cholinergic system. We found that mountain-cultivated ginseng treatment (50 mg/kg, intraperitoneal) significantly attenuated cognitive impairment normally induced by trimethyltin by upregulating p-Janus kinase 2/signal transducer activator of transcription 3, p-extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling, and the cholinergic system. Trimethyltin-induced cognitive impairments were more pronounced in interleukin-6 (−/−) mice than wild-type mice, and they were markedly reduced by treatment with either mountain-cultivated ginseng or recombinant interleukin-6 protein (6 ng, intracerebroventricular). Additionally, treatment with either AG490 (20 mg/kg, intraperitoneal), a Janus kinase 2/signal transducer activator of transcription 3 inhibitor, or U0126 (2 µg/head, intracerebroventricular), an extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibitor, reversed the effects of mountain-cultivated ginseng treatment. The effects of mountain-cultivated ginseng treatment were comparable to those of recombinant interleukin-6 protein in interleukin-6 (−/−) mice. Our results, therefore, suggest that mountain-cultivated ginseng acts through interleukin-6-dependent activation of Janus kinase 2/signal transducer activator of transcription 3/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling in order to reverse cognitive impairment caused by trimethyltin treatment.
Key wordscognitive dysfunction - IL-6 knockout mice - JAK2/STAT3/ERK signaling - cholinergic system - Panax ginseng - Araliaceae - trimethyltin
* Thu-Hien Thi Tu and Naveen Sharma contributed equally to this work.