IcarisideII improves left ventricular remodeling in spontaneously hypertensive rats by inhibiting the ASK1-JNK/p38 signaling pathway

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Inhibition or removal of excess reactive oxygen species can effectively protect cellular function or reduce cell death because oxidative stress is the main cause of cellular damage in many diseases. The flavonoid compound IcarisideII having a slight inhibitory effect on PDE5, is the main active components of epimedium in vivo and has a wide range of pharmacological effects on oxidation and apoptosis. However, whether IcarisideII has the same protective effect on ventricular remodeling in spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) is unknown. We found that compared with WKY rats, SHRs exhibited noticeable arterial hypertension. Additionally, echocardiography showed that the diameter of the left ventricle was enlarged, wall thickness was increased, and ejection fraction and short axis shortening rate were reduced. H&E staining demonstrated that SHR cells were disordered and noticeably hypertrophic. Masson trichrome staining revealed significant myocardial fibrosis in the myocardium. Tunel staining indicated that 4.39 times the percent of apoptotic cells were present in SHRs compared to WKY rats. In our study, intra-gastric administration of IcarisideII decreased blood pressure, promoted heart function recovery and improved ventricular remodeling in SHRs. Additionally, it reduced myocardial fibrosis, inhibited myocardial apoptosis, decreased the generation of reactive oxygen species and improved SOD activity. IcarisideII down-regulated the activation of the oxidative stress associated proteins ASK1, p38 and JNK; inhibited the expression of p53, Bax and cleaved-caspase3 in the mitochondrial apoptosis pathway; and up-regulated the expression of Bcl-2. In conclusion, this study indicates that IcarisideII can inhibit myocardial apoptosis and improve left ventricular remodeling in SHRs. It can be inferred that this mechanism may be related to the inhibition of the ASK1-JNK/p38 signaling pathway.

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