Astragaloside IV attenuates myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats via inhibition of calcium-sensing receptor-mediated apoptotic signaling pathways

Bo Yin1, Xu-wei Hou2, Mei-li Lu3
1 The Department of General Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Jinzhou Medical University, Jinzhou 121001, China
2 The Department of Human Anatomy of Jinzhou Medical University, Jinzhou 121001, China
3 Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular and Cerebrovascular Drug Research of Liaoning Province, Jinzhou Medical University, Jinzhou 121001, China
Correspondence to: Mei-li Lu:,
DOI: 10.1038/s41401-018-0082-y
Received: 16 January 2018
Accepted: 20 May 2018
Advance online: 20 July 2018


Astragaloside IV (AsIV) is an active saponin extracted from Astragalus membranaceus, which has shown cardioprotective effects in a number of experimental animals. In this study we investigated the molecular mechanisms by which AsIV attenuated the myocardial ischemia reperfusion (MI/R)-induced injury in vitro and in vivo by focusing on calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2). Rat neonatal cardiac myocytes were subjected to a hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) procedure in vitro, which significantly decreased the cell viability, increased lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release, induced cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and increased [Ca2+]i. H/R also increased the expression of CaSR and decreased ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels in H/R-exposed myocytes. Pretreatment with AsIV (60 μmol/L) significantly improved the cell viability and decreased LDH release, attenuated myocyte apoptosis, decreased [Ca2+]i and CaSR expression, and increased the ERK1/2 phosphorylation levels. The protective effects of AsIV against H/R injury were partially inhibited by co-treatment with a CaSR agonist, gadolinium chloride (GdCl3) or with a specific ERK1/2 inhibitor U0126. For in vivo studies, a rat MI/R model was established. Pre-administration of AsIV (80 mg/kg every day, ig) significantly decreased the myocardium infarct size, creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB) production, serum cardiac troponin (cTnI) levels, and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in the rats with MI/R injury. The therapeutic effects of AsIV were associated with the downregulation of CaSR expression and upregulation of ERK1/2 phosphorylation in myocardial tissues. In summary, astragaloside IV attenuates myocardial I/R injury via inhibition of CaSR/ERK1/2 and the related apoptotic signaling pathways.
Keywords: astragaloside IV; myocardial ischemia/reperfusion; apoptosis; calcium-sensing receptor; ERK1/2; gadolinium chloride; U0126

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