Effect of crocin on experimental atherosclerosis in quails and its mechanisms☆
Life Sciences 77(2005)907-921，-0001，（）：
In the present study, we examined the prophylaxis effect of crocin on experimental atherosclerosis and it spossible mechanisms. The atherosclerosis formation was induced by hyperlipidamic diet in quails. At the 9th week, serum lipid, MDA and NO were measured, and HE staining was used to investigate the histopathological changes of aorta. Bovine aortic endothelial cells (EC) were obtained from the thoracic aorta of newborn calves. After incubation of the cells with Ox-LDL (50mg·L-1) for 24h, the activities of LDH, NO in culture media and activity of NOS in endothelial cells were measured, flow cytometer was used to determine the rate of endothelial cells apoptosis. Peritoneal macrophages were obtained from thioglycolate-injected mice. Cholesterol and free cholesterol in cells were assayed after incubation of the cells with Ox-LDL. Bovine aortic smooth muscle cells (SMC) were obtained from the thoracic aorta of newborn calf. Proliferation was induced by 100 Agd L 10X-LDL and antiproliferative effect of crocin on SMCs were observed. SMCs cycle phases were measured by flow cytometry. SMCs were loaded with Fluo-3/AM and [Ca2+]i was measured by Laser Scanning Confocal Microscope (LSCM). Crocin could reduce the level of serum TC, TG, LDL-C and inhibit the formation of aortic plaque. Crocin could reduce MDA and inhibit the descending of NO in serum. Compared with control, Ox-LDL group could increase the activity of LDH and decrease activity of NO in culture media and activity of NOS in endothelial cells, preincubated with crocin, the effects of Ox-LDL were inhibited. Crocin could decrease the EC apoptosis induced by Ox-LDL. Crocin concentration-dependently inhibited the TC and CE elevation induced by Ox-LDL in macrophages. Crocin could inhibit the proliferation of SMCs induced by Ox-LDL. In the presence or absence of extracellular Ca2+, crocin concentration-dependently inhibited the [Ca2+]i elevation induced by 120mgd L 1Ox-LDL, In the absence of extracellular Ca2+, crocin could inhibit the [Ca2+]i elevation induced by CHCl3 in a concentration-dependent manner. The results indicated that crocin could inhibit the formation of atherosclerosis in quails. Crocin had protective effects on endothelial cells. Crocin could decrease CE in macrophages and uptake of Ox-LDL, inhibiting the formation of foam cell, which would promote the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis. Crocin could inhibit the [Ca2+]i elevation in smooth muscle cell, Ca2+ is an important second messenger that regulates a variety of cellular processes, including smooth muscle cell proliferation and gene expression. Crocin exerted antiatherosclerotic effects through decreasing the level of Ox-LDL that plays an important role in the initiation and progression of atherosclerosis.