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OBJECTIVE: To investigate the underlying mechanism of reduced myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury in rats using the traditional Tibetan medicine Sanweitanxiang powder (SWTX).METHODS: Rats were randomly divided into six groups (n = 10) as follows: (a) propranolol dinitrate control group, given propranolol dinitrate 0.02 g/kg for 10 days before I/R, (b) SWTX with a high dose group, given SWTX 1.5 g/kg for 10 days before I/R, (c) SWTX with a medium dose group, given SWTX 1.25 g/kg for 10 days before I/R, (d) sham group (Sham), in which the rat heart was exposed by pericardiotomy but without I/R, (e) SWTX with a low dose group, given SWTX 1.0 g/kg for 10 days before I/R, and (f) I/R injury group. Rats were intragastrically pretreated with propranolol dinitrate or SWTX. After that, the operation to cause ischemia and reperfusion was conducted. The histopathologic changes of rat hearts were observed by hematoxylin and eosin staining and transmission electron microscopy. Ca2+ homeostasis protein expression was determined by western blot. RESULTS: After SWTX pretreatment, the development of ultrastructural pathological changes from IR injury was attenuated. A decrease in the expression of B-cell lymphoma 2 associated X protein, and an increase in the expression of B-cell lymphoma 2 were observed. An increased activation of extracellular signal regulated kinases were found. Compared with the sham group, the expression of sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium-ATPase, phospholamban, and calsequestrin were all up-regulated after pretreatment with SWTX. CONCLUSION: The protective mechanism of SWTX pretreatment on myocardial I/R injury might be related to its effect on maintaining the balance of calcium homeostasis in rat heart.

Aporphine alkaloids from the leaves of Nelumbo nucifera Gaertn are substances of great interest because of their important pharmacological activities, particularly anti-diabetic, anti-obesity, anti-hyperlipidemic, anti-oxidant, and anti-HIV's activities. In order to produce large amounts of pure alkaloid for research purposes, a novel method using high-speed counter-current chromatography (HSCCC) was developed. Without any initial cleanup steps, four main aporphine alkaloids, including 2-hydroxy-1-methoxyaporphine, pronuciferine, nuciferine and roemerine were successfully purified from the crude extract by HSCCC in one step. The separation was performed with a simple two-phase solvent system composed of n-hexane-ethyl acetate-methanol-acetonitrile-water (5:3:3:2.5:5, v/v/v/v/v). In each operation, 100 mg crude extracts was separated and yielded 6.3 mg of 2-hydroxy-1-methoxyaporphine (95.1% purity), 1.1 mg of pronuciferine (96.8% purity), 8.5 mg of nuciferine (98.9% purity), and 2.7 mg of roemerine (97.4%) respectively. The chemical structure of four aporphine alkaloids are identified by means of electrospray ionization MS (ESI-MS) and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) analysis. Moreover, the effects of four separated aporphine alkaloids on insulin-stimulated glucose consumption were examined in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. The results showed that 2-hydroxy-1-methoxyaporphine and pronuciferine increased the glucose consumption significantly as rosiglitazone did.