Research Paper Volume 13, Issue 6 pp 8916—8928

Protective effects of ginseng stem-leaf saponins on D-galactose-induced reproductive injury in male mice

Qi Zhang1, *, , Chenying Yang1, *, , Min Zhang1, , Xiaomin Lu1, , Wanshuang Cao1, , Chunfeng Xie1,2, , Xiaoting Li1,2, , Jieshu Wu1,2, , Caiyun Zhong1,2, , Shanshan Geng1,2, ,

  • 1 Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 211166, Jiangsu, China
  • 2 Center for Global Health, School of Public Health, Nanjing Medical University, Nanjing 211166, Jiangsu, China
* Equal contribution

Received: May 8, 2020       Accepted: January 20, 2021       Published: March 10, 2021
How to Cite

Copyright: © 2021 Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Panax ginseng is a perennial plant in the Araliaceae family. In this study, we investigated the protective effects of ginseng stem-leaf saponins (GSLS) isolated from P. ginseng against D-galactose-induced reproductive function decline, oxidative stress, and inflammatory response. Reproductive injuries were induced in mice via the subcutaneous injection of D-galactose (300 mg/kg) for six weeks. The mice were then treated with GSLS by intragastric administration. GSLS inhibited markers of oxidative stress and inflammatory cytokines induced by D-galactose in serum, liver and kidney, whereas GSLS increased the activities of antioxidant enzymes. Compared to the mice treated only with D-galactose, GSLS treatment significantly increased the average path velocity, straight line velocity, curvilinear velocity, and amplitude of the lateral head displacement of mouse sperm. Meanwhile, GSLS significantly increased the testosterone level and reduced the cortisol, FSH, and LH levels. Histopathological examination revealed alterations in the number and the arrangement of spermatogenic cells in the seminiferous tubules of the mice in the GSLS group. GSLS treatment suppressed MAPKs pathway activation in testes. These results suggest that GSLS can attenuate D-galactose-induced oxidative stress and inflammatory response in serum, liver and kidney, and ameliorate reproductive damage by inhibiting MAPKs signaling pathway.


GSLS: ginseng stem-leaf saponins; D-gal: D-galactose; LH: luteinizing hormone; FSH: follicle-stimulating hormone; ROS: reactive oxygen species; MDA: malondialdehyde; CAT: catalase; GnRH: gonadotropin-releasing hormone; 8-OHdG: 8-hydroxy deoxyguanosine; IL-4: interleukin-4; IL-6: interleukin-6; TNF-β1: tumor necrosis factor-β1; TNF-α: tumor necrosis factor-α; ELISA: enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay; SOD: Superoxide dismutase; VAP: average path velocity; VSP: straight line velocity; VCL: continuous line velocity; ALH: amplitude of lateral head displacement; ALT: alanine-aminotransferase; AST: aspartate-aminotransferase; UA: uric acid; Scr: serum creatinine.