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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Salvianolic acid B, an aqueous component of danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), relaxes rat coronary artery by inhibition of calcium channels.

In this study, we have investigated the mechanism of action through which salvianolic acid, a constituent of the medicinal herb danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), causes relaxation of isolated coronary artery rings precontracted with 1 muM 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT). The vasorelaxant effects of salvianolic acid B were also compared with the aqueous extract of danshen. Extraction of the water-soluble fraction from danshen provided a yield of 17.5%. The amount of salvianolic acid B determined in this aqueous extract was 3.9%, and the extract was 6.3 times less potent than salvianolic acid B in relaxing 5-HT-precontracted coronary artery rings; IC(50) values were 930.3+/-133.5 mug/ml and 147.9+/-17.4 mug/ml, respectively. Removal of the endothelium did not significantly affect their vasodilator potencies; IC(50) values were 842.1+/-123.8 mug/ml and 160.3+/-25.9 mug/ml. On the other hand, a potassium channel inhibitor tetraethylammonium (TEA, 10 mM) shifted their concentration-response curves by 1.7 and 2.9 folds. The possible involvement of Ca(2+) channels was investigated in artery rings incubated with Ca(2+)-free buffer and primed with 1 muM 5-HT or 60 mM KCl for 5 min prior to adding CaCl(2) to elicit contraction. In 5-HT-primed preparations, 2 mg/ml danshen aqueous extract and 0.72 mg/ml salvianolic acid B abolished the CaCl(2)-induced vasoconstriction, whereas, in KCl-primed preparations, 10 mg/ml danshen aqueous extract and 1.44 mg/ml salvianolic acid B produced 90% inhibition. These findings suggest the vasorelaxant effects of danshen aqueous extract and salvianolic acid B were produced by inhibition of Ca(2+) influx in the vascular smooth muscle cells. The opening of K(+) channels had a minor contribution to their effects, but endothelium-dependent mechanisms were not involved. The high vasodilator potency and the quantity of salvianolic acid B contained in danshen aqueous extract suggest it is an important vasodilator constituent in this medicinal herb.[1]


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