Effects of Hawthorn on the Progression of Heart Failure in a Rat Model of Aortic Constriction

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Study Objective.

To determine the effects of hawthorn (Crataegus oxycantha) on left ventricular remodeling and function in pressure overload-induced heart failure in an animal model.


Randomized, parallel, dose-ranging animal study.


University research facility.


Seventy-four male Sprague-Dawley rats; 44 were included in the final analysis.


Rats underwent a sham operation or aortic constriction. Rats subjected to the sham operation were treated with vehicle (10% agar-agar), and those subjected to aortic constriction were treated with vehicle or hawthorn (C. oxycantha special extract WS 1442) 1.3, 13, or 130 mg/kg for 5 months.

Measurements and Main Results.

Rats and their hearts were weighed, and echocardiographic measurements were performed at baseline and at 2, 3, 4, and 5 months after aortic constriction. Protein expression for markers of fibrosis and for atrial natriuretic factor was also measured. Aortic constriction increased the left ventricular:body weight ratio by 53% in vehicle-treated rats; Hawthorn treatment did not significantly affect the aortic constriction-induced increase in this ratio. Left ventricular volumes and dimensions at systole and diastole significantly increased 5 months after aortic constriction compared with baseline in rats given vehicle (> 20% increase, p<0.05) but not in those given hawthorn 130 mg/kg (< 10% increase). After aortic constriction, the velocity of circumferential shortening significantly decreased in the vehicle group but not in the medium- or high-dose groups. In the aortic constriction-vehicle group, the induced increases in messenger RNA expression for atrial natriuretic factor (∽1000%) and fibronectin (˜80%) were significantly attenuated by high-dose hawthorn treatment by approximately 80% and 50%, respectively.


Hawthorn treatment exhibited modest beneficial effects on cardiac remodeling and function during long-term, pressure overload-induced heart failure in rats.

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