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Phytomedicine. 2004 Feb;11(2-3):121-9.

Cardiotonic and antidysrhythmic effects of oleanolic and ursolic acids, methyl maslinate and uvaol.

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Department of Human Physiology University of Durban-Westville, Durban, South Africa.


The cardiotonic and antidysrhythmic effects of four triterpenoid derivatives, namely oleanolic acid (OA), ursolic acid (UA), and uvaol (UV), isolated from the leaves of African wild olive (Olea europaea, subsp. africana) as well as methyl maslinate (MM) isolated from the leaves of Olea europaea (Cape cultivar) were examined. The derivatives showed low toxicity on brine shrimp test. They displayed significant, dose-response vasodepressor effect and sinus bradicardia, most prominent for OA and MM. The derivatives acted as beta-adrenergic antagonists, blocking the effect of adrenaline and isoprenaline. The established positive inotropic and dromotropic effects were most distinctive for OA and MM. The antidysrhythmic effects were evaluated on CaCl2- and adrenaline-induced chemical arrhythmias, and on ischemia-reperfusion arrhythmia. OA and UA displayed antidysrhythmic effects on both types of chemical arrhythmia; OA and UV in dose 40 mg/kg conferred significant antidysrhythmic activity on ischemia and reperfusion arrhythmias. The effect was comparable to that of propranolol and suggestive of beta-adrenergic antagonistic activity. On the basis of the vasodepressor, cardiotonic and antidysrhythmic effects of these compounds, it was concluded that OA and UV isolated from wild African olive leaves, or crude extract containing all components, can provide a cheap and accessible source of additive to conventional treatment of hypertension, complicated by stenocardia and cardiac failure.

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