Groundwater arsenic contamination in Bangladesh and its adjoining part of West Bengal (India) is reported to be the biggest arsenic calamity in the world in terms of the affected population. Tossa jute, Corchorus olitorius is a popular crop of this arsenic prone population. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the protective effect of aqueous extract of C. olitorius leaves (AECO) against sodium arsenite (NaAsO(2)) induced cardiotoxicity in experimental rats. The animals exposed to NaAsO(2) (10mg/kg, p.o.) for 10days exhibited a significant inhibition (p<0.01) of superoxide dismutase, catalase, glutathione-S-transferase, glutathione peroxidase, glutathione reductase and reduced glutathione level in myocardial tissues of rats. In addition, it significantly increased (p<0.01) oxidized glutathione, malondialdehyde and protein carbonyl content in myocardial tissue. Treatment with AECO (50 and 100mg/kg, p.o.) for 15days prior to NaAsO(2)-intoxication significantly protected cardiac tissue against arsenic-induced oxidative impairment. In addition, AECO pretreatment significantly prevented NaAsO(2) induced hyperlipidemia, cardiac arsenic content and DNA fragmentation in experimental rats. Histological studies of myocardial tissue supported the protective activity of the AECO. The results concluded that the treatment with AECO prior to arsenic intoxication has significant protecting effect against arsenic-induced myocardial injury.
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