Background: Homocysteine is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. The objective of this study was to investigate whether ginkgolide A (GA), a major constituent of Ginkgo biloba, could block homocysteine-induced endothelial dysfunction in porcine coronary arteries.
Methods: Porcine coronary artery rings were assigned to six treatment groups: control; homocysteine (50 micromol/L); low-dose (50 micromol/L) or high-dose (100 micromol/L) GA; and homocysteine plus low-dose or high-dose GA. After 24 hours' incubation, the rings were analyzed for vasomotor function in response to a thromboxane A2 analogue (U46619), bradykinin, and sodium nitroprusside. Endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) was studied by using real-time polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry analysis. Superoxide anion production was assessed by chemoluminescence analysis.
Results: Endothelium-dependent relaxation (bradykinin) was significantly reduced in ring segments treated with homocysteine as compared with the control (P < .05). When homocysteine was combined with either low-dose or high-dose GA, endothelium-dependent relaxation was markedly recovered. There was no significant difference in maximal contraction (U46619) or endothelium-independent relaxation (sodium nitroprusside) among all groups. In addition, superoxide anion production was increased by 113% in the homocysteine-treated group, whereas there was no statistically significant difference between the control and GA/homocysteine groups. Furthermore, eNOS messenger RNA and protein levels were substantially reduced in the homocysteine-treated group (P < .05), but not in the GA/homocysteine combined groups.
Conclusions: Homocysteine significantly impairs endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation through oxidative stress and downregulation of eNOS in porcine coronary arteries. GA effectively prevents homocysteine-induced endothelial dysfunction and molecular changes in porcine coronary arteries. This study underscores the potential clinical benefits and applications of GA in controlling homocysteine-associated vascular injury and cardiovascular disease.
Clinical relevance: Homocysteine is an independent risk factor for atherosclerosis. This study showed that ginkgolide A, a major constituent of Ginkgo biloba, effectively prevents homocysteine-induced endothelial dysfunction and molecular changes in porcine coronary arteries. This study underscores potential clinical benefits and applications of ginkgolide A in controlling homocysteine-associated vascular injury and cardiovascular disease.