Cardiovascular Toxicology

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 241–249 | Cite as

Protective Effect of Apigenin on Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury of the Isolated Rat Heart

  • Jing Hu
  • Zilin Li
  • Li-ting Xu
  • Ai-jun Sun
  • Xiao-yan Fu
  • Li Zhang
  • Lin-lin Jing
  • An-dong Lu
  • Yi-fei DongEmail author
  • Zheng-ping JiaEmail author


Apigenin (Api), a mainly bioactive component of Apium graveolens L. var. dulce DC. (a traditional Chinese medicinal herb), possesses a wide range of biological activities, including antioxidant effects. It also has been shown to associate with lower prevalence of cardiovascular diseases, but its mechanisms of action remain unclear. The aim of the present study is to investigate the role of Api in isolated rat heart model of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). Langendorff-perfused isolated rat hearts were used in our study. Api was added to the perfusate before ischemia and during reperfusion in the isolated pulsed rat heart exposed to 30-min ischemia followed by 50-min reperfusion. The treatment with Api conferred a cardioprotective effect, and the treated hearts demonstrated an improved ischemic cardiac functional recovery, a decreased myocardial infarct size, a reduced activities of creatine kinase isoenzyme and lactate dehydrogenase in the coronary flow, a reduced number of apoptotic cardiomyocytes, a reduced activity of caspase-3, up-regulation of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-2 and down-regulation of the pro-apoptotic protein Bax. In addition, Api inhibited the phosphorylation of p38 MAPKS during I/R. In conclusion, these observations provide preliminary evidence that Api can protect cardiomyocytes from I-/R-induced injury, at least partially, through the inhibition of p38 MAPKS signaling pathway.


Apigenin Isolated heart perfusion Ischemia–reperfusion Cardioprotection p38 MAPKS 



Creatine kinase-MB isoform






Lactate dehydrogenase


2,3,5-Triphenyltetrazolium chloride


Left ventricular end-diastolic pressure



We thank Xiao Cao Botanical Development Co., Ltd (Xi’an, China) for supplying us with the standardized Api extract used in this study. We are grateful for the financial support by National Natural Science Foundation of China (81400276).

Conflict of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jing Hu
    • 1
  • Zilin Li
    • 2
  • Li-ting Xu
    • 1
  • Ai-jun Sun
    • 1
  • Xiao-yan Fu
    • 3
  • Li Zhang
    • 1
  • Lin-lin Jing
    • 1
  • An-dong Lu
    • 2
  • Yi-fei Dong
    • 2
    Email author
  • Zheng-ping Jia
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PharmacyGeneral Hospital of Lanzhou Command, PLALanzhouChina
  2. 2.Department of Cardiovascular SurgeryGeneral Hospital of Lanzhou Command, PLALanzhouChina
  3. 3.Department of UltrasoundGeneral Hospital of Lanzhou Command, PLALanzhouChina

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