Danggui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis) is an herb often used in Traditional Chinese medicine. It is used to promote blood flow and has been used in the treatment of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury in animal models. Angiotensin II (Ang II) has been shown to play important roles in mediating cardiovascular diseases, and may cause cardiac hypertrophy and apoptosis. This study aimed to investigate whether Danggui has protective effects on Ang II-induced apoptosis in H9c2 cardiomyoblast cells and study the mechanisms involved.
We evaluated the effect of Danggui on Ang II-induced apoptosis in an in vitro model. H9c2 cardiomyoblast cells were cultured in serum-free medium for 4 hr, then treated with Danggui (50, 100 μg/ml) 1 hr pre- or post-Ang II treatment. After a further 23 hr of culture, cells were harvested for analyses with assays for apoptosis markers and cell signaling pathways.
Our results showed that Ang II induced upregulation of pro-apoptotic Bad, instability of the mitochondria membrane potential, cytochrome c release, caspase-9 and caspase-3 activation and cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Pre- or post-treatment with Danggui reversed all of the above Ang II-induced apoptotic effects in H9c2 cells. Furthermore, the JNK (SP600125) inhibitor completely blocked Danggui inhibition of caspase-3 activation in Ang II-treated H9c2 cells.
Our results showed that Danggui either pre-treatment or post-treatment highly attenuated the Ang II-induced apoptosis in cardiomyoblast cells. The findings demonstrated that the anti-apoptosis effect of Danggui is mediated by JNK and PI3k inhibitors.