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Br J Pharmacol. 1999 Dec;128(7):1477-84.

Novel cardiac protective effects of urea: from shark to rat.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Université du Québec à Montréal, C.P. 8888, Succ. A, Montréal, Québec H3C 3P8, Canada.


1. This study was carried out to investigate novel cardioprotective effects of urea and the underlying mechanisms. The cardiac functions under oxidative stress were evaluated using Langendorff perfused isolated heart. 2. Isolated dogfish shark hearts tolerated the oxidative stress generated by electrolysis (10 mA, 1 min) of the perfusion solution (n=4), and also showed normal cardiac functions during post-ischaemia reperfusion (n=4). The high concentration of urea (350 mM) in the heart perfusate was indispensable for maintaining the normal cardiac functions of the shark heart. 3. Urea at 3 - 300 mM (n=4 for each group) protected the isolated rat heart against both electrolysis-induced heart damage and post-ischaemia reperfusion-induced cardiac injury. 4. A concentration-dependent scavenging effect of urea (3 - 300 mM, n=4 for each group) against electrolysis-induced reactive oxygen species was also demonstrated in vitro. 5. Urea derivatives as hydroxyurea, dimethylurea, and thiourea had antioxidant cardioprotective effect against the electrolysis-induced cardiac dysfunction of rat heart, but were not as effective as urea in suppressing the post-ischaemia reperfusion injury. 6. Our results suggest that urea and its derivatives are potential antioxidant cardioprotective agents against oxidative stress-induced myocardium damage including the post-ischaemia reperfusion-induced injury.

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