Cardioprotective effects of Ilex paraguariensis extract: evidence for a nitric oxide-dependent mechanism

Clin Nutr. 2005 Jun;24(3):360-6. doi: 10.1016/j.clnu.2004.11.013.


Aim: To examine the effects of an Ilex paraguariensis (Ip) extract on postischemic alterations derived from 20 min of global ischemia and 30 min of reperfusion.

Methods: Isolated rat hearts were treated 10 min before ischemia and the first 10 min of reperfusion with Ip 30 microg/ml. In other hearts, chelerythrine (1 microM), a protein kinase C blocker, or l(G)-nitro l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, were administered prior to Ip infusion. Left ventricular developed pressure (LVDP), +dP/dt(max), -dP/dt(max), and left ventricular end diastolic pressure (LVEDP) were used to assess myocardial function. Thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS) were measured.

Results: Ip treatment produced an improvement of postichemic recovery (LVDP=96+/-8%; +dP/dt(max)=95+/-10%; -dP/dt(max)=90+/-12% vs. 57+/-6%, 53+/-6% and 57+/-8%, respectively, in untreated hearts) and an attenuation of the increase of LVEDP and TBARS content. Chelerythrine did not modify and l-NAME abolished the protection induced by Ip.

Conclusions: These data are the first demonstration that Ip extract attenuates the myocardial dysfunction provoked by ischemia and reperfusion and that this cardioprotection involves a diminution of oxidative damage through a nitric oxide-dependent mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Alkaloids
  • Animals
  • Benzophenanthridines
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Ilex paraguariensis / chemistry*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Myocardial Contraction / drug effects
  • Myocardial Stunning / drug therapy*
  • Myocardial Stunning / metabolism
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester / pharmacology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Phenanthridines / pharmacology
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Protein Kinase C / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Reperfusion Injury / drug therapy*
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances / metabolism


  • Alkaloids
  • Benzophenanthridines
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Phenanthridines
  • Plant Extracts
  • Platelet Aggregation Inhibitors
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Thiobarbituric Acid Reactive Substances
  • Nitric Oxide
  • chelerythrine
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase
  • Nitric Oxide Synthase Type II
  • Nos2 protein, rat
  • Protein Kinase C
  • NG-Nitroarginine Methyl Ester