Cardiovascular Drugs and Therapy

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 269–277 | Cite as

Cardioprotection by Farnesol: Role of the Mevalonate Pathway

  • Gergő Szűcs
  • Zsolt Murlasits
  • Szilvia Török
  • Gabriella F. Kocsis
  • János Pálóczi
  • Anikó Görbe
  • Tamás Csont
  • Csaba Csonka
  • Péter Ferdinandy



Farnesol is a key metabolite of the mevalonate pathway and known as an antioxidant. We examined whether farnesol treatment protects the ischemic heart.


Male Wistar rats were treated orally with 0.2, 1, 5, and 50 mg/kg/day farnesol/vehicle for 12 days, respectively. On day 13, the effect of farnesol treatment on cardiac ischemic tolerance and biochemical changes was tested. Therefore, hearts were isolated and subjected either to 30 min coronary occlusion followed by 120 min reperfusion to measure infarct size or to 10 min aerobic perfusion to measure cardiac mevalonate pathway end-products (protein prenylation, cholesterol, coenzyme Q9, coenzyme Q10, dolichol), and 3-nitrotyrosine (oxidative/nitrosative stress marker), respectively. The cytoprotective effect of farnesol was also tested in cardiomyocytes subjected to simulated ischemia/reperfusion.


Farnesol pretreatment decreased infarct size in a U-shaped dose–response manner where 1 mg/kg/day dose reached a statistically significant reduction (22.3 ± 3.9 % vs. 40.9 ± 6.1 % of the area at risk, p < 0.05). Farnesol showed a similar cytoprotection in cardiomyocytes. The cardioprotective dose of farnesol (1 mg/kg/day) significantly increased the marker of protein geranylgeranylation, but did not influence protein farnesylation, cardiac tissue cholesterol, coenzyme Q9, coenzyme Q10, and dolichol. While the cardioprotective dose of farnesol did not influence 3-nitrotyrosine, the highest dose of farnesol (50 mg/kg/day) tested did not show cardioprotection, however, it significantly decreased cardiac 3-nitrotyrosine.


This is the first demonstration that oral farnesol treatment reduces infarct size. The cardioprotective effect of farnesol likely involves increased protein geranylgeranylation and seems to be independent of the antioxidant effect of farnesol.


Ischemia/reperfusion Protein geranylgeranylation Peroxynitrite Farnesol Mevalonate pathway 



This work was supported by a grant from the National Innovation Office (5LET_STATIN_08, TAMOP-4.2.2-08/1/2008-0013, TAMOP-4.2.1/B-09/1/KONV-2010-0005, TÁMOP-4.2.2/B-10/1-2010-0012, and TAMOP-4.2.2/A-11/1/KONV-2012-0035) and a grant from the Hungarian Scientific Research Fund (OTKA PD 106001). A. Görbe and T. Csont hold a “János Bolyai Fellowship” from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gergő Szűcs
    • 1
  • Zsolt Murlasits
    • 2
    • 3
  • Szilvia Török
    • 1
  • Gabriella F. Kocsis
    • 1
  • János Pálóczi
    • 1
  • Anikó Görbe
    • 1
  • Tamás Csont
    • 1
    • 3
  • Csaba Csonka
    • 1
    • 3
  • Péter Ferdinandy
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Cardiovascular Research Group, Department of BiochemistryUniversity of SzegedSzegedHungary
  2. 2.Department of Health and Sport SciencesUniversity of MemphisMemphisUSA
  3. 3.Pharmahungary GroupSzegedHungary
  4. 4.Department of Pharmacology and PharmacotherapySemmelweis UniversityBudapestHungary

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