Background: This study was designed to evaluate the cardioprotective effects of Euterpe oleracea Mart., popularly known as "açaí", on rats subjected to myocardial infarction (MI).
Methods: Hydroalcoholic extracts of açaí were obtained from a decoction of the seeds. Two male Wistar rat groups were delineated: 1) the sham-operated group (control, n = 6), with no surgical amendment, and 2) the MI group (n = 12), in which the anterior descendent coronary artery was occluded during surgery. MI group was divided into two subgroups, in which rats were either treated with hydroalcoholic extract of Euterpe oleracea seeds (100 mg/kg/day p.o.) or received no treatment. Treatment began on the day of surgery, and lasted 4 weeks. Subsequently, rats were subject to an exercise test protocol, hemodynamic evaluation, and histological analysis of the left ventricle. Groups were compared using one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA), followed by Dunnett's test.
Results: The total running distance of sham rats was 1339.0 ± 276.6 m, MI rats was 177.6 ± 15.8 m (P < 0.05), and MI-açaí rats was 969.9 ± 362.2 m. Systolic arterial pressure was significantly decreased in MI rats (86.88 ± 4.62 mmHg) compared to sham rats (115.30 ± 7.24 mmHg; P < 0.05). Açaí treatment prevented a reduction in systolic arterial pressure (130.00 ± 8.16 mmHg) compared to MI rats (P < 0.05). Left ventricular (LV) end-diastolic pressure was significantly augmented in MI rats (17.62 ± 1.21 mmHg) compared to sham rats (4.15 ± 1.60 mmHg; P < 0.05), but was 3.69 ± 2.69 mmHg in açaí-treated rats (P < 0.05 vs. MI). The LV relaxation rate (-dp/dt) was reduced in MI rats compared to the sham group, whereas açaí treatment prevented this reduction. Açaí treatment prevented cardiac hypertrophy and LV fibrosis in MI rats.
Conclusions: Euterpe oleracea treatment of MI rats prevented the development of exercise intolerance, cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis, and dysfunction.