The purpose of the current study is to evaluate the cardioprotective effects of purified Salvia miltiorrhiza extract (PSME) on myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in isolated rat hearts. Hearts were excised and perfused at constant flow (7 – 9 ml · min−1) via the aorta. Non-recirculating perfusion with Krebs-Henseleit (KH) solution was maintained at 37°C and continuously gassed with 95% O2 and 5% CO2. KH solution with or without PSME (100 mg per liter solution) was used after 30-min zero-flow ischemia for the PSME and control group, respectively. Left ventricular (LV) developed pressure; its derivatives, diastolic pressure, and so on were continuously recorded via a pressure transducer attached to a polyvinylchloride balloon that was placed in the left ventricle through an incision in the left atrium. PSME treated hearts showed significant postischemic contractile function recovery (developed pressure recovered to 44.2 ± 4.9% versus 17.1 ± 5.7%, P<0.05; maximum contraction recovered to 57.2 ± 5.9% versus 15.1 ± 6.3%, P<0.001; maximum relaxation restored to 69.3 ± 7.3% versus 15.4 ± 6.3%, P<0.001 in the PSME and control group, respectively). Significant elevation in end-diastolic pressure, which indicated LV stiffening in PSME hearts might have resulted from the excess high dose of PSME used. Further study will be conducted on the potential therapeutic value with lower dose of PSME on prevention of ischemic heart disease.
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