Antiradical and antilipoperoxidative effects of some plant extracts used by Sri Lankan traditional medical practitioners for cardioprotection.Phytother Res. 2001 Sep; 15(6):519-23.PR
Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are implicated in many pathogenic processes including the cardiovascular system. Detoxification of ROS by antioxidants (AO) therefore affords protection against such diseases. There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that antioxidants contribute to cardioprotection. Therefore, nine plants that are components of Ayurvedic formulations used for the therapy of cardiovascular diseases were investigated to determine whether antioxidant activity is one of the mechanisms by which these plants exert cardioprotection. Initially aqueous freeze dried extracts of the plants were prepared and the antioxidant activity was measured (a) in vitro, by DPPH (1,1-diphenyl-2-picrylhydrazyl) radical scavenging and deoxyribose damage protection assays, and (b) in vivo, by effects on lipid peroxidation. Terminalia arjuna showed significant DPPH radical scavenging activity with EC(50) 8.3 +/- 0.3 microg/mL (similar to L-ascorbic acid). The potency of this activity was much lower in Cassia fistula (EC(50) = 59.0 +/- 2.7 microg/mL). The other seven extracts demonstrated no such activity in the concentration range tested. In the deoxyribose damage protection assay, T. arjuna> demonstrated no significant effect in the concentration range 0-20 microg/mL, but above -20 microg/mL concentration (20-125 microg/mL), a pro-oxidant activity was observed (although markedly less than demonstrated by L-ascorbic acid). A similar trend was observed with Vitex negundo. In contrast, C. fistula afforded a 30% protection against such damage at 125 microg/mL concentration. Other plant extracts did not show any activity in this assay. At a dose of 90 mg/kg (single dose) T. arjuna, cardiac lipid peroxidation in male Wistar rats was reduced by 38.8% +/- 2.6% (p<0.05) whereas the reduction was only 11.6% +/- 3.5% in the case of C. fistula even at a dose of 120 mg/kg. Of all the plants tested, T. arjuna demonstrated the highest antioxidant activity. Overall results show that only some plants used in the therapy of cardiovascular disease exert their beneficial effects via antioxidant activity.