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Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2012 Jan;39(1):20-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2011.05628.x.

Protective effect of ligustrazine against myocardial ischaemia reperfusion in rats: the role of endothelial nitric oxide synthase.

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  • 1Department of Cardiology, School of Medicine, Nanjing University, Jinling Hospital, Nanjing, Jiangsu, China.


1. The aim of the present study was to determine whether ligustrazine (2,3,5,6-tetramethylpyrazine; TMP) exerts a cardioprotective effect during myocardial ischaemia reperfusion (IR), and to investigate the underlying mechanisms and the role of endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in cardioprotection. 2. Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into a sham group and five IR groups: IR control, TMP pretreated, TMP + wortmannin (a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor), N(G) -nitro-L-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME; a NOS inhibitor) and TMP + L-NAME. IR was produced by 35 min of regional ischaemia followed by 120 min of reperfusion. Myocardial infarct size, oxidative stress, myocardial apoptosis, nitric oxide (NO) production, and expression of phosphorylated protein kinase B (Akt) and eNOS were measured. 3. TMP markedly decreased infarct size and attenuated myocardial apoptosis, as evidenced by a decrease in the apoptotic index and reduced caspase-3 activity. TMP treatment caused a marked increase in NO production. Cotreatment with wortmannin or L-NAME completely blocked the TMP-induced NO increase. TMP induced phosphorylation of Akt at Ser 473 (1.61 ± 0.18 vs 0.79 ± 0.10 in the IR control group) and phosphorylation of eNOS at Ser1177 (1.87 ± 0.33 vs 0.94 ± 0.22 in the IR control group). Wortmannin abrogated the phosphorylation of Akt and eNOS induced by TMP. 4. These data suggest that ligustrazine has anti-apoptotic and cardioprotective effects against myocardial IR injury and that it acts through the PI3K/Akt pathway. In addition, the phosphorylation of eNOS with subsequent NO production was found to be an important downstream effector that contributes significantly to the cardioprotective effect of TMP.

© 2011 The Authors. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Asia Pty Ltd.

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