Aims: Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. Ischemia-reperfusion injury can lead to apoptotic death of heart cells and subsequently heart failure. Rhodiola is an herbal medicine with two main bioactive compounds--salidroside (SAL) and tyrosol (TYR). This study aimed to investigate whether these two compounds can prevent ischemia/reperfusion-induced apoptosis in H9c2 cells.
Main methods: Assays for total phenolics assay and Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity showed high antioxidant capacity of SAL and TYR. H9c2 cells were subjected to simulated ischemia/reperfusion (IR) in the presence and absence of SAL and/or TYR, and nuclei condensation, caspase-3 activity, cytochrome c release and JNK phosphorylation were determined.
Key findings: In H9c2 cells, IR can lead to a 5-fold increase in p-JNK level. Apoptotic nuclei condensation, caspase-3 activity and cytochrome c release were markedly elevated, indicating the occurrence of apoptosis. SAL and TYR caused a dose-dependent inhibition of nuclear condensation. Furthermore, SAL and TYR, separately and in combination, significantly reduced caspase-3 activity, cytochrome c release and JNK activation. The anti-apoptotic effect of the combination was markedly higher than that of SAL or TYR alone.
Significance: The inhibition of the JNK signaling pathway is the key mechanism for the cytoprotective effect of SAL and TYR in IR-induced apoptosis.
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