Ginsenosides block HIV protease inhibitor ritonavir-induced vascular dysfunction of porcine coronary arteries

Hong Chai, Wei Zhou, Peter Lin, Alan B. Lumsden, Qizhi Yao, Changyi Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) protease inhibitor ritonavir (RTV) may induce vascular dysfunction through oxidative stress. Ginsenosides have been shown to have potential benefits on the cardiovascular system through diverse mechanisms, including antioxidative property. The objective of this study was to determine whether ginsenosides could prevent coronary arteries from RTV-induced dysfunction. Porcine coronary artery rings were incubated with RTV and ginsenosides Rb1, Rc, and Re for 24 h. Vasomotor function was recorded by a myograph tension system. In response to the thromboxane A2 analog U-46619, the contraction of the vessel rings was significantly reduced. When cocultured with Rb1, Rc, and Re, the contractility significantly increased. In response to bradykinin at 10-5 M, the endothelium-dependent relaxation of vessel rings was significantly reduced by 59% for RTV compared with controls (P < 0.05). When cocultured with Rb1, Rc, and Re, the relaxation significantly increased 100%, 90%, and 134%, respectively, compared with the RTV-alone groups (P > 0.05). In response to sodium nitroprusside, RTV significantly reduced vasorelaxation. In addition, the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) mRNA levels were significantly reduced by 78% for RTV group (P < 0.05) by real-time PCR analysis. The eNOS protein levels measured by Western blot analysis and nitrite concentrations measured by Griess assay were also decreased, whereas O2 - production by lucigenin-enhanced chemiluminescence was significantly increased in the RTV-treated group. These effects of RTV were effectively blocked by ginsenosides. Thus HIV protease inhibitor RTV significantly impaired the vasomotor function of porcine coronary arteries. This effect may be mediated by the downregulation of eNOS and overproduction of O2 -. These results suggest that ginsenosides can effectively block RTV-induced vascular dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2965-H2971
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6 57-6
StatePublished - Jun 2005


  • Endothelial nitric oxide
  • Ginseng root
  • Human immunodeficiency virus
  • Oxidative stress
  • Superoxide anion
  • Vasomotor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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