Wong HS, Ko KM
Division of Life Science, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Clear water bay, Hong Kong SAR, China.
Earlier findings demonstrated that pretreatment of Herba Cistanches [the dried whole plant of Cistanche deserticola Y.C. Ma (Orobanchaceae)], a "Yang-invigorating" Chinese tonic herb, stimulated the ATP-generation capacity (ATP-GC) in mitochondria isolated from rat heart ex vivo. The enhancement of mitochondrial ATP-GC by Herba Cistanches was associated with induction of glutathione antioxidant status and protection against ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in rat hearts. This study investigated the relationship between enhancements in mitochondrial ATP-GC and glutathione antioxidant status in H9c2 cardiomyocytes using a semipurified fraction of Herba Cistanches (HCF1). HCF1 (10-300 ng/mL) was tested for its effects on mitochondrial ATP generation, glutathione antioxidant status and protection against oxidant injury in H9c2 cardiomyocytes and rat hearts.HCF1 at 30 ng/mL increased mitochondrial ATP-GC and ADP-stimulated state 3 respiration (by 50 and 100%, respectively) in H9c2 cardiomyocytes. The stimulation of mitochondrial respiration was associated with the induction of mitochondrial uncoupling (27%) and enhancement of cellular glutathione redox cycling as well as protection against hypoxia/reoxygenation (hypox/reoxy)-induced apoptosis (by 60%). While HCF1 treatment increased reactive oxygen species generation from mitochondrial respiration in H9c2 cardiomyocytes, pretreatment with antioxidants (DMTU) abrogated the HCF1-induced cellular responses and the associated cytoprotective effect. HCF1 pretreatment (1.14 and 3.41 mg/kg x 14) also protected against myocardial I/R injury in rats (by 13 and 32%), presumably mediated by the induction of glutathione antioxidant response. The long-term intake of HCF1 may offer a prospect for the prevention of ischemic heart disease.