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Dong-Kwon Rhee

Dong-Kwon Rhee

Sungkyunkwan University, Republic of Korea

Title: Protection of neuron cells from apoptosis by Korean red ginseng via ERβ/PI3K signalling


Dong-Kwon Rhee has completed his PhD at University of Illinois at Chicago in 1988 and Postdoctoral studies from Yale University School of Medicine. He was the Director of World Class University at Sungkyunkwan University, which is ranked 47th in Pharmacy and Pharmacology World rankings 2014. He has published 154 papers in reputed journals and is serving as a President of Korean Society of Ginseng.


Panax ginseng C A Meyer is one of the most popular herbal medicines in Korea, and has long been used in Asian countries for stimulating immunity and inhibiting various cancers. Although the role of ginseng in regulating the development of cancer is well defined, the mechanism by which it protects brain cells from oxidative stress is not well understood. Since brain myelin sheaths contain relatively large amounts of iron and lipids and have high rates of oxidative metabolism with limited antioxidant capacity, brain is highly susceptible to oxidative damage. In this study, Korean Red Ginseng (KRG) extract was shown to inhibit oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in neuro-blastoma cells. This apoptosis inhibition was mediated by ER-β up-regulation via the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. The up-regulation of PI3K/AKT signaling inhibited apoptotic signals by decreasing p-p53 and caspase-3 expression, but increasing BCL2 expression. Therefore, KRG protected brain cells from oxidative stress-induced cell death. Collectively, these data suggest that activation of ER-β by KRG inhibits apoptosis in oxidatively stressed

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