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A computational and functional study elicits the ameliorating effect of the Chinese herbal formula Huo Luo Xiao Ling Dan on experimental ischemia-induced myocardial injury in rats via inhibition of apoptosis

Authors Han X, Zhou Z, Yang W, Ye H, Xu Y, Huang Y, Zhang T, Zhou S

Received 24 October 2014

Accepted for publication 17 December 2014

Published 18 February 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1063—1102


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Wei Duan

Xiang-Dong Han,1 Zhi-Wei Zhou,2–4 Wei Yang,1 Hang-Cheng Ye,1 Ying-Zi Xu,1 Yun-Feng Huang,1 Tong Zhang,1 Shu-Feng Zhou2

1School of Pharmacy, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of South Florida, Tampa, FL, USA; 3Guizhou Provincial Key Laboratory for Regenerative Medicine, 4Stem Cell and Tissue Engineering Research Center and Sino-US Joint Laboratory for Medical Sciences, Guizhou Medical University, Guiyang, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Ischemic heart disease (IHD) is the leading cause of death worldwide and remains a major life-threatening factor in humans. Apoptosis has been implicated in the pathogenesis of IHD. The Chinese herbal formula Huo Luo Xiao Ling Dan (HLXLD), one of the commonly used Chinese herbal formulas, consists of Salviae miltiorrhizae, Angelica sinensis, Gummi olibanum, and Commiphora myrrha, with a wide spectrum of pharmacological activity. However, the mechanism of action and molecular targets of HLXLD in the treatment of IHD are unclear. This study aimed to computationally predict the molecular interactions between the major active components of HLXLD and key regulators of apoptosis and then examine the effect of HLXLD on coronary artery ligation-induced acute myocardial ischemia in rats. The molecular interactions between the major active components of HLXLD, including ferulic acid, ligustilide, succinic acid, vanillic acid, tanshinone IIA, tanshinone IIB, danshensu, salvianolic acid A, salvianolic acid C, protocatechuic aldehyde, and β-boswellic acid and human protein molecules including B cell lymphoma-extra large (Bcl-xl), B cell lymphoma 2 antagonist/killer 1 (Bak1), B cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2), procaspase 3, and caspase 9 with regard to hydrogen bond formation, charge interaction, and π-π stacking using Discovery Studio® program 3.1. The 12 HLXLD components were predicted by ADMET (absorption, distribution, metabolism, excretion and toxicity) Predictor to have favorable pharmacokinetic and low hepatotoxicity profiles. The acute myocardial ischemia was established by surgical ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery. The rats were divided into a sham operative group, a model group, a positive control group treated with 0.2 mg/kg isosorbide mononitrate, and groups treated with 2.7, 5.4, or 10.8 g/kg HLXLD. The results showed that administration of HLXLD increased mean arterial pressure, left ventricular systolic pressure, heart rate, and maximal rate of rise/descent of left ventricular pressure levels. Administration of HLXLD significantly ameliorated coronary artery ligation-induced tissue damage in the left ventricle, with restored arrangement of myocardial fibers and recovered myoplasm in rats. Furthermore, HLXLD markedly increased the expression level of Bcl-2 but decreased the level of cleaved caspase 3. Taken together, administration of HLXLD attenuated acute myocardial ischemia-induced damage in cardiomyocytes and inhibited apoptotic death of cardiomyocytes, thereby exerting a cardioprotective effect in rats with IHD. These findings suggest that HLXLD may represent a promising herbal formula for the treatment of cardiovascular disease by counteracting apoptotic cell death via multiple active compounds. More studies are warranted to fully elucidate the mechanisms of action, identify the therapeutic targets, and validate the efficacy and safety of HLXLD in the treatment of IHD.

Keywords: Huo Luo Xiao Ling Dan, myocardial ischemia, coronary artery ligation, hemodynamics, apoptosis, molecular docking

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