Hawthorn Fruit Extract Elevates Expression of Nrf2/HO-1 and Improves Lipid Profiles in Ovariectomized Rats

Nutrients. 2016 May 13;8(5):283. doi: 10.3390/nu8050283.


The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of hawthorn (Crataegus pinnatifida Bunge) extract on the lipid profiles and antioxidant properties in ovariectomized (OVX) rats. After ovariectomy, the rats were randomly divided into four groups: the non-OVX control (Sham), the OVX-control (OVX), the OVX + 100 mg/kg b.w. of hawthorn extract (OL), and the OVX + 200 mg/kg b.w. of hawthorn extract (OH). The final body weights of the OVX group were significantly increased, but the increment was significantly decreased in hawthorn groups (p < 0.05). The serum total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels were significantly elevated in the OVX group, whereas the hawthorn groups showed a significant decrease in these levels (p < 0.05). The hepatic triglyceride (TG) and malondialdehyde (MDA) levels were significantly reduced in the hawthorn groups compared with the OVX group (p < 0.05). The mRNA expression of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor (Nrf2), heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1), and glutathione peroxidase (GPx) were significantly decreased in the OVX group, whereas the hawthorn groups exhibited a significant increase in expression (p < 0.05). The protein expressions of Nrf2, HO-1, and GPx were lower in the OVX group than the Sham group (p < 0.05). The oral administration of hawthorn extract reversed the suppression of protein levels. These results suggest that hawthorn extract could have protective effects in OVX rats by improving lipid profiles, decreasing oxidative stress, and improving the antioxidant defense system.

Keywords: antioxidant; glutathione peroxidase; hawthorn extract; heme oxygenase-1; nuclear factor erythroid 2 related factor; ovariectomized; oxidative stress.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Weight / drug effects
  • Crataegus / chemistry*
  • Estradiol / blood
  • Female
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing) / genetics
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing) / metabolism*
  • Lipids / blood
  • Liver / drug effects
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / genetics
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2 / metabolism*
  • Organ Size / drug effects
  • Ovariectomy
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Lipids
  • NF-E2-Related Factor 2
  • Nfe2l2 protein, rat
  • Plant Extracts
  • Estradiol
  • Heme Oxygenase (Decyclizing)
  • Hmox1 protein, rat