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J Biochem Mol Toxicol. 2021 Dec 2:e22885. doi: 10.1002/jbt.22885. Online ahead of print.
Ginsenoside-Rg1 (G-Rg1), a saponin that is a primary component of ginseng, is effective against inflammatory diseases. The P2X purinoceptor 7 (P2X7) receptor is an ATP-gated ion channel that is predominantly expressed in immune cells and plays a key role in inflammatory processes. We investigated the role of G-Rg1 in sepsis-related cardiac dysfunction and the underlying mechanism involving the regulation of the P2X7 receptor. We detected cell viability, cytotoxicity, cellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels, and mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP) with or without G-Rg1 in lipopolysaccharide (LPS)- or hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R)-induced H9c2 cell models of ischemia/reperfusion injury. We applied cecal ligation and puncture (CLP) to induce a mouse model of sepsis and measured the survival duration and cardiac function of CLP mice. Next, we quantified the ROS level, MMP, respiratory chain complex I-IV enzymatic activity, and mitochondrial fusion in CLP mouse heart tissues. We then investigated the role of G-Rg1 in repairing LPS-induced cell mitochondrial damage, including mitochondrial superoxidation products. The results showed that G-Rg1 inhibited LPS- or H/R-induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis, cytotoxicity, ROS levels, and mitochondrial damage. In addition, G-Rg1 prolonged the survival time of CLP mice. G-Rg1 attenuated LPS-induced superoxide production in the mitochondria of cardiomyocytes and the excessive release of cytochrome c from mitochondria into the cytoplasm. Most importantly, G-Rg1 suppressed LPS-mediated induction of proapoptotic Bax, activated Akt, induced GSK-3β phosphorylation, and balanced mitochondrial calcium levels. Overall, G-Rg1 activates the Akt/GSK-3β pathway through P2X7 receptors to inhibit sepsis-induced cardiac dysfunction and mitochondrial dysfunction.