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Cardioprotective effect of AsIV

Astragaloside IV attenuates myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats via inhibition of calcium-sensing receptor-mediated apoptotic signaling pathways


Astragaloside IV (AsIV) is an active saponin extracted from Astragalus membranaceus, which has shown cardioprotective effects in a number of experimental animals. In this study we investigated the molecular mechanisms by which AsIV attenuated the myocardial ischemia reperfusion (MI/R)-induced injury in vitro and in vivo by focusing on calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). Rat neonatal cardiac myocytes were subjected to a hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) procedure in vitro, which significantly decreased the cell viability, increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and increased [Ca2+]i. H/R also increased the expression of CaSR and decreased ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels in H/R-exposed myocytes. Pretreatment with AsIV (60 μmol/L) significantly improved the cell viability and decreased LDH release, attenuated myocyte apoptosis, decreased [Ca2+]i and CaSR expression, and increased the ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels. The protective effects of AsIV against H/R injury were partially inhibited by co-treatment with a CaSR agonist, gadolinium chloride (GdCl3) or with a specific ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126. For in vivo studies, a rat MI/R model was established. Pre-administration of AsIV (80 mg/kg every day, ig) significantly decreased the myocardium infarct size, creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) production, serum cardiac troponin (cTnI) levels, and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in the rats with MI/R injury. The therapeutic effects of AsIV were associated with the downregulation of CaSR expression and upregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation in myocardial tissues. In summary, astragaloside IV attenuates myocardial I/R injury via inhibition of CaSR/ERK1/2 and the related apoptotic signaling pathways.

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This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No 81703739), the Natural Science Foundation of Liaoning Province (No 201602284), and the Innovative Training Program for College Students of Liaoning Province (No 201610160000040).

Author contributions

B.Y. and M.-i.L. designed the research. B.Y., X.-w.H. and M.-i.L. performed the research. B.Y. analyzed the data. M.-i.L. wrote the paper.

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Competing interests

The authors declare no competing interests.

Correspondence to Mei-li Lu.

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  • astragaloside IV
  • myocardial ischemia/reperfusion
  • apoptosis
  • calcium-sensing receptor
  • ERK1/2
  • gadolinium chloride
  • U0126
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