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Cardiovasc Res. 2010 Sep 1;87(4):713-22. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvq089. Epub 2010 Mar 17.

Natural therapeutic magnesium lithospermate B potently protects the endothelium from hyperglycaemia-induced dysfunction.

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  • 1Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Internal Medicine, Inha University School of Medicine, Incheon, Republic of Korea.



We have investigated the effects of magnesium lithospermate B (MLB), the active compound of the Oriental herbal remedy, Salvia miltiorrhizae, on endothelial dysfunction associated with diabetes mellitus using cultured endothelial cells and an animal model of type 2 diabetes mellitus.


The effect of MLB on vasodilatory function in Otsuka Long-Evans Tokushima Fatty (OLETF) rats was assessed. MLB treatment for 20 weeks starting at 12 weeks attenuated the decrease in endothelium-dependent vasodilation in OLETF rats. MLB treatment also increased serum nitrite level and reduced serum advanced glycation end products concentration. The effect of MLB was greater than an equivalent dose of alpha-lipoic acid (alphaLA), a popular antioxidant treatment. MLB rescued the inhibition of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) activity and eNOS phosphorylation in endothelial cells cultured in hyperglycaemia. This effect was dependent on Akt phosphorylation and associated with decreased O-linked N-acetylglucosamine protein modification of eNOS. MLB also increased nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor-2 (Nrf-2) activation in a phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt pathway dependent manner. MLB treatment induced the expression of the Nrf-2-regulated antioxidant enzyme, heme oxygenase-1. The antioxidant alphaLA could not produce this effect. Moreover, MLB decreased oxidative stress and endothelial cell apoptosis caused by hyperglycaemia.


MLB is a naturally occurring, new generation antioxidant that activates eNOS and ameliorates endothelial dysfunction in diabetes by enhancing vasodilation in addition to reducing oxidative stress. The relative strong performance of MLB makes it an ideal candidate for further, expanded trials as a new generation of antioxidant to treat diabetes-related complications.

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