Sinapine, but not sinapic acid, counteracts mitochondrial oxidative stress in cardiomyocytes

Redox Biol. 2020 Jul:34:101554. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2020.101554. Epub 2020 May 19.


Introduction: When confronted to stress or pathological conditions, the mitochondria overproduce reactive species that participate in the cellular dysfunction. These organelles are however difficult to target with antioxidants. A feature of mitochondria that can be used for this is the negatively charged compartments they form. Most of mitochondrion-targeting antioxidants are therefore cationic synthetic molecules. Our hypothesis is that such mitochondriotropic traits might also exists in natural molecules.

Aim: We tested here whether sinapine, a natural phenolic antioxidant-bearing a permanent positive charge, can target mitochondria to modulate mitochondrial oxidative stress.

Methods: Experiments were performed in-vitro, in-cellulo, ex-vivo, and in-vivo, using cardiac tissue. The sinapic acid -lacking the positively-charged-choline-moiety present in sinapine-was used as a control. Sinapine entry into mitochondria was investigated in-vivo and in cardiomyocytes. We used fluorescent probes to detect cytosolic (H2DCFDA) and mitochondrial (DHR123) oxidative stress on cardiomyocytes induced with either hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) or antimycin A, respectively. Finally, ROS production was measured with DHE 10 min after ischemia-reperfusion (IR) on isolated heart, treated or not with sinapine, sinapic acid or with a known synthetic mitochondrion-targeted antioxidant (mitoTempo).

Results: We detected the presence of sinapine within mitochondria in-vitro, after incubation of isolated cardiomyocytes, and in-vivo, after oral treatment. The presence of sinapic acid was not detected in the mitochondria. Both the sinapine and the sinapic acid limited cytosolic oxidative stress in response to H2O2. Only sinapine was able to blunt oxidative stress resulting from antimycin A-induced mtROS. Both mitoTempo and sinapine improved cardiac functional recovery following IR. This was associated with lower ROS production within the cardiac tissue.

Conclusion: Sinapine, a natural cationic hydrophilic phenol, commonly and substantially found in rapeseed species, effectively (i) enters within the mitochondria, (ii) selectively decreases the level of mitochondrial oxidative stress and, (iii) efficiently limits ROS production during cardiac ischemia-reperfusion.

Keywords: Ischemia-reperfusion; Mitochondria; Natural antioxidant; Oxidative stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / metabolism
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology
  • Choline / analogs & derivatives
  • Coumaric Acids
  • Hydrogen Peroxide* / metabolism
  • Mitochondria, Heart / metabolism
  • Myocytes, Cardiac* / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Coumaric Acids
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • sinapine
  • sinapinic acid
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Choline