Wong HS, Cheung WF, Tang WL, Ko KM
Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Hong Kong SAR, China.
In the study, using ethanol extracts of Renshen (Panax ginseng C A Meyer), Xiyangshen (Panax quinquefolius L.) and Dangshen (Codonopsis pilosulae), we investigated the effect of these “Qi-invigorating” Chinese tonic herbs on mito- chondrial ATP generation capacity (ATP-GC) in H9c2 cardiomyocytes in situ and rat hearts ex vivo. All three types of “Shens” stimulated mitochondrial ATP-GC, with Renshen being most potent. While a parallel enhancement in mito- chondrial ATP-GC was observed in Renshen- and Xiyangshen-pretreated rats, Dangshen treatment did not produce de- tectable effect ex vivo. The discrepancy between in situ and ex vivo assays for Dangshen may be attributed by its lim- ited oral-bioavailability to the heart. The tissue specific activity of Shens on mitochondrial ATP-GC may be explained by the “Meridian Theory” in traditional Chinese medicine.