Nowadays, there is a growing interest in compounds derived from plants as potential raw materials for drug development. One of the most studied compounds is beta-carotene (BC). Several clinical studies can be found investigating the cardiovascular effects of BC, however, all these results are controversial. There is an increasing body of evidence showing that besides the well-known antioxidant properties, under strong oxidative circumstances, BC could become prooxidant as well. In this study, we investigated the effects of long-term, low- and high-dose BC treatment in ischemic/reperfused (ISA/REP) hearts isolated from Zucker diabetic fatty (ZDF) rats. The animals were treated with various daily doses of BC for 4 weeks and then hearts were isolated and subjected to 30 min of global ischemia (ISA) followed by 120 min of reperfusion (REP). Blood glucose levels were measured before, after two weeks, and at the end of the treatment. In isolated hearts, the myocardial function was registered. At the end of the reperfusion period, the infarct size (IS) and heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression were measured. The results showed that a low dose of BC treatment significantly improved postischemic recovery, which was reflected in a decreased IS. Interestingly, when BC was applied at high concentrations, the observed protective effects were lost. Although BC treatment increased HO-1 expression, we did not observe a better heart function and/or decreased IS in the high-dose-treated group. Glucose tolerance tests showed a concentration-independent decrease in blood glucose levels. Our results suggest that long-term, low-dose BC treatment could be effective in the treatment of type-2-diabetes and related cardiovascular diseases.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry