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Free Radic Res. 2007 Feb;41(2):234-41.

The main components of St John's Wort inhibit low-density lipoprotein atherogenic modification: a beneficial "side effect" of an OTC antidepressant drug?

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Department of Medical Chemistry, Centre of Physiology and Pathophysiology, Medical University Vienna, Vienna, Austria.


Hypericin and pseudohypericin are polycyclic-phenolic structurally related compounds found in Hypericum perforatum L. (St John's wort). As hypericin has been found to bind to LDL one may assume that it can act as antioxidant of LDL lipid oxidation, a property which is of prophylactic/therapeutic interest regarding atherogenesis as LDL oxidation may play a pivotal role in the onset of atherosclerosis. Therefore, in the present paper hypericin, pseudohypericin and hyperforin, an other structurally unrelated constituent in St John's wort were tested in their ability to inhibit LDL oxidation. LDL was isolated by ultracentrifugation and oxidation was initiated either by transition metal ions (copper), tyrosyl radical (myeloperoxidase/hydrogen peroxide/tyrosine) or by endothelial cells (HUVEC). LDL modification was monitored by conjugated diene and malondialdehyde formation. The data show that all compounds (hypericin, pseudohypericin and hyperforin) at doses as low as 2.5 micromol/l are potent antioxidants in the LDL oxidation systems used. The results indicate that the derivatives found in Hypericum perforatum have possible antiatherogenic potential.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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