Tribulosin suppresses apoptosis via PKC epsilon and ERK1/2 signaling pathway during hypoxia/reoxygenation in neonatal rat ventricular cardiac myocytes

J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2011 Dec;13(12):1135-45. doi: 10.1080/10286020.2011.627327.


Tribulosin (tigogenin 3-O-β-D-xylopyranosyl(1-2)-[β-D-xylopyranosyl (1-3)]-β-D-glucopyranosyl (1-4)-[a-L-rhamnopyranosyl(1-2)]-β-D-galactopyranoside), a component of gross saponins of Tribulus terrestris, has been shown to produce cytoprotective effects in heart. Yet, the precise mechanisms are not fully understood. We examined the mechanisms of tribulosin on myocardial protection. Ventricular myocytes were isolated from the heart of neonatal rats and were exposed to 3 h of hypoxia followed by 2 h reoxygenation. Apoptosis was induced by hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R), and the expression of protein kinase C epsilon (PKCϵ) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1 and 2 (ERK1/2) in cultured neonatal rat cardiac myocytes was detected. The results indicated that treatment with tribulosin in the culture medium protected cardiac myocytes against apoptosis induced by H/R. PKCϵ and ERK1/2 expression increased after pretreated with tribulosin. In the presence of PKCϵ inhibitor co-treated with tribulosin, the expression of ERK1/2 was decreased in H/R cardiac myocytes. While preconditioned with PD98059, ERK1/2 inhibitor, no effects on the expression of PKCϵ were detected. Tribulosin has protective effects on cardiac myocytes against apoptosis induced by H/R injury via PKCϵ and ERK1/2 signaling pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Apoptosis / drug effects*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Hypoxia / metabolism
  • Male
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3 / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / cytology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / drug effects*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Protein Kinase C-epsilon / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase C-epsilon / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Sitosterols / chemistry
  • Sitosterols / isolation & purification
  • Sitosterols / pharmacology*
  • Tribulus / chemistry*


  • Sitosterols
  • tribulosin
  • Protein Kinase C-epsilon
  • Mitogen-Activated Protein Kinase 3