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Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013;2013:610694. doi: 10.1155/2013/610694. Epub 2013 Mar 4.

Tanshinone IIA and Cryptotanshinone Prevent Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Hypoxia-Induced H9c2 Cells: Association to Mitochondrial ROS, Intracellular Nitric Oxide, and Calcium Levels.

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  • 1Traditional & Complementary Medicine Program, RMIT Health Innovations Research Institute, School of Health Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia.


The protective actions of tanshinones on hypoxia-induced cell damages have been reported, although the mechanisms have not been fully elucidated. Given the importance of nitric oxide (NO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in regulation of cell functions, the present study investigated the effects of two major tanshinones, Tanshinone IIA (TIIA) and cryptotanshinone (CT), on hypoxia-induced myocardial cell injury and its relationships with intracellular NO and ROS, calcium, and ATP levels in H9c2 cells. Chronic hypoxia significantly reduced cell viability which accompanied with LDH release, increase in mitochondrial ROS, intracellular NO and calcium levels, decrease in superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity, and cellular ATP contents. TIIA and CT significantly prevented cell injury by increasing cell viability and decreasing LDH release. The protective effects of tanshinones were associated with reduced mitochondrial superoxide production and enhanced mitochondrial SOD activity. Tanshinones significantly reduced intracellular NO and Ca(2+) levels. ATP levels were also restored by TIIA. These findings suggest that the cytoprotective actions of tanshinones may involve regulation of intracellular NO, Ca(2+), ATP productions, mitochondrial superoxide production, and SOD activity, which contribute to their actions against hypoxia injuries.

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