Context: The antihyperlipidemic, antiarrhythmic, neuroprotective and hepatoprotective effects of Melissa officinalis L. (Lamiaceae) have been reported. However, no study has examined its effects on the resistance of the heart to stressful conditions.
Objective: The objective of this study is to evaluate the effects of aqueous extract of M. officinalis aerial parts on Wistar rat heart with/without cardiac injury.
Materials and methods: Animals were grouped as control, isoproterenol (ISO), M. officinalis without (M50, M100, and M200) and with isoproterenol (M50 + ISO, M100 + ISO, and M200 + ISO). The aqueous extract of M. officinalis was orally administered at dosages of 50, 100, and 200 mg/kg/d, respectively, for 7 consecutive days. On the 6th and 7th day, ISO, M50 + ISO, M100 + ISO, and M200 + ISO groups received 85 mg/kg of isoproterenol for myocardial injury induction. On day 8, hemodynamic parameters were recorded and samplings were done.
Results: The extract (50, 100, and 200 mg/kg) significantly reduced the heart rate (264 ± 5, 259 ± 5 and 281 ± 3 versus 377 ± 13 in control group, p < 0.01). Blood pressure was significantly decreased in M50 + ISO (75 ± 5) versus M50 (110 ± 6) and M100 + ISO (72 ± 6) versus M100 (105 ± 5 mmHg, p < 0.01). The malondialdehyde levels of the injured hearts were lower in M50 + ISO and M100 + ISO groups than in the ISO group (p < 0.05). Serum cardiac troponin I was higher in the M200 + ISO group (5.1 ± 1.7) than in the ISO group (2.7 ± 0.7 ng/ml, p < 0.05).
Conclusion: The lower dose of extract, by improving the balance of the redox system and by reducing the heart rate, may increase the heart resistance to injury. However, the higher doses of extract may intensify the injury of ischemic heart.
Keywords: Blood pressure; cardiac contractility; cardiac injury; cardiac troponin I.