Korean red ginseng (KRG) has been shown to enhance endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in experimental animals; however, little is known about its pharmacological effects on vascular stiffness in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD). This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial was carried out to determine whether KRG has beneficial effects on arterial stiffness, cardiovascular risk factors such as plasma lipid profiles and blood pressure (BP), and Rhoassociated kinase (ROCK) activity. Twenty patients (mean age, 62.5 years) with stable angina pectoris were given KRG (2.7 g/day) and a placebo alternatively for 10 weeks. Blood biochemical analysis and pulse wave velocity (PWV) recording were performed on day 0 and after the completion of each treatment. ROCK activity was assessed based on the level of phospho-Thr853 in the myosin-binding subunit of myosin light chain phosphatase, determined by Western blot analysis of peripheral blood mononuclear cells. KRG significantly decreased the systolic BP, brachial ankle PWV, and heart femoral PWV in the patients (all p < 0.05), but did not significantly alter the serum lipid profles, including triglycerides and total, high-density lipoprotein, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. The ROCK activity tended to decrease (p = 0.068) following KRG treatment. The placebo did not significantly alter any of the variables. In conclusion, KRG decreased systolic BP and arterial stiffness, probably via the inhibition of ROCK activity, in patients with CAD, but had a neutral effect on serum lipid profiles. Our data suggest that KRG has a therapeutic effect on CAD.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
- Complementary and alternative medicine