'Ajwa' dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.) extract ameliorates isoproterenol-induced cardiomyopathy through downregulation of oxidative, inflammatory and apoptotic molecules in rodent model

Phytomedicine. 2016 Oct 15;23(11):1240-8. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2015.10.019. Epub 2015 Dec 14.


Background/purpose: Ajwa, a special variety of Saudi Arabian dates (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is a rich source of nutrients, fibers and bioactive molecules. While previous studies have shown the therapeutic value of dates phytoconstituents in liver and kidney diseases etc., its cardioprotective potential remains elusive. We therefore, investigated the cardioprotective effect of lyophilized Ajwa extract (AJLE) ex vivo as well as in vivo.

Methods: Ex vivo cardioprotective effect of AJLE was evaluated on DCFH-toxicated cardiomyoblast cells (H9C2). In vivo hemodynamics, cardiac function, serum cardiac enzymes, myocardial antioxidant, inflammatory and apoptotic biomarkers as well as histopathological parameters were studied in IPS-injured Wistar rat heart tissues.

Results: AJLE (250 µg/ml) attenuated the cytotoxicity and enhanced the H9C2 proliferation by up to 40%. Oral administration of AJLE (250 and 500 mg/kg.bw) prevented the depletion of endogenous antioxidants (CAT, SOD, NP-SH and NO) and myocyte injury marker enzymes, and inhibited lipid peroxidation (MDA, MPO). Moreover, AJLE downregulated the expressions of proinflammatory cytokines (IL-6, IL-10 and TNFα) and apoptotic markers (caspase-3 and Bax), and upregulated the anti-apototic protein Bcl2. Histological data showed that AJLE pretreatment reduced myonecrosis, edema, and infiltration of inflammatory cells and restored the cardiomyocytes architecture.

Conclusion: Taken together, our data revealed that AJLE had strong antioxidant, hypolipidimic, cardioprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-apoptotic potential against myocardial damage. This further endorses the use of Ajwa in Arabian traditional medicine against cardiovascular diseases.

Keywords: Ajwa dates; Cardioprotection; Hyperlipidemia; Isoproterenol; Myocardiac injury; Oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents / therapeutic use
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Antioxidants / therapeutic use
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cardiomyopathies / chemically induced*
  • Cardiomyopathies / drug therapy*
  • Cardiotonic Agents / pharmacology
  • Cardiotonic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Fruit / chemistry
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Isoproterenol / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Medicine, Traditional
  • Models, Animal
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Phoeniceae / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar
  • Saudi Arabia


  • Anti-Inflammatory Agents
  • Antioxidants
  • Cardiotonic Agents
  • Plant Extracts
  • Isoproterenol