Cell Biology and Toxicology

, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 63–73 | Cite as

The protective effect of a purified extract of Withania somnifera against doxorubicin-induced cardiac toxicity in rats



The therapeutic value of doxorubicin as an effective antineoplastic agent is limited by its cardiotoxic side-effects. The administration of doxorubicin (10 mg/kg) to male Wistar rats induced necrosis and apoptosis in heart tissues. It also caused oxidative stress damage as evidenced by the elevation of malondialdehyde and protein carbonyl levels and catalase activity, accompanied by the concurrent depletion of total antioxidant capacity and of superoxide dismutase level in cardiac tissues. The doxorubicin-induced cardiotoxicity and oxidative stress damage were also accompanied by increases of myeloperoxidase activity, total calcium content, and the expression of Bcl-2 protein in heart tissues. Most of these doxorubicin-induced biochemical and histological alterations were effectively attenuated by prior administration of purified standardized extract (1.5% withanolides; manufactured by Idea Sphere Inc., American Fork, UT, USA) of Withania somnifera (300 mg/kg). Thus, Withania may play a role in the protection against cardiotoxicity and thus might be a useful adjuvant therapy where doxorubicin is the cancer-treating drug.


Doxorubicin Cardiotoxicity Protection Withania Apoptosis 



aspartate aminotransferase






ferric reducing antioxidant power


lipid peroxidation






reactive oxygen species


superoxide dismutase


total antioxidant capacity


thiobarbituric acid


terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase mediated dUTP nick end labelling


Withania somnifera Dunal



We are grateful to Ms. Duaa Al-Harbawi for her valuable assistance. We also thank Professor Waleed Hamza (Biology Department Head) for his continuous help and support throughout this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Biology Department, College of ScienceU.A.E. UniversityAl-AinUnited Arab Emirates
  2. 2.Department of PathologyTwam HospitalAl-AinUnited Arab Emirates
  3. 3.Biology DepartmentU.A.E. UniversityAl-AinUnited Arab Emirates

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