Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine

, Volume 25, Issue 1, pp 23–30 | Cite as

Salvianolic Acid A Protects Neonatal Cardiomyocytes Against Hypoxia/Reoxygenation-Induced Injury by Preserving Mitochondrial Function and Activating Akt/GSK-3β Signals

  • Xue-li Li
  • Ji-ping Fan
  • Jian-xun LiuEmail author
  • Li-na Liang
Original Article



To investigate the effects of salvianolic acid A (SAA) on cardiomyocyte apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction in response to hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) injury and to determine whether the Akt signaling pathway might play a role.


An in vitro model of H/R injury was used to study outcomes on primary cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. The cardiomyocytes were treated with 12.5, 25, 50 μg/mL SAA at the beginning of hypoxia and reoxygenation, respectively. Adenosine triphospate (ATP) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) levels were assayed. Cell apoptosis was evaluated by flow cytometry and the expression of cleaved-caspase 3, Bax and Bcl-2 were detected by Western blotting. The effects of SAA on mitochondrial dysfunction were examined by determining the mitochondrial membrane potential (△Ψm) and mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP), followed by the phosphorylation of Akt (p-Akt) and GSK-3β (p-GSK-3β), which were measured by Western blotting.


SAA significantly preserved ATP levels and reduced ROS production. Importantly, SAA markedly reduced the number of apoptotic cells and decreased cleaved-caspase 3 expression levels, while also reducing the ratio of Bax/Bcl-2. Furthermore, SAA prevented the loss of △Ψm and inhibited the activation of mPTP. Western blotting experiments further revealed that SAA significantly increased the expression of p-Akt and p-GSK-3β, and the increase in p-GSK-3β expression was attenuated after inhibition of the Akt signaling pathway with LY294002.


SAA has a protective effect on cardiomyocyte H/R injury; the underlying mechanism may be related to the preservation of mitochondrial function and the activation of the Akt/GSK-3β signaling pathway.


salvianolic acid A cardiomyocyte hypoxia/reoxygenation injury mitochondria Akt/GSK-3β 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Association of the Integration of Traditional and Western Medicine 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xue-li Li
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Ji-ping Fan
    • 4
    • 5
  • Jian-xun Liu
    • 1
    Email author
  • Li-na Liang
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Xiyuan HospitalChina Academy of Chinese Medical SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Experimental Research CenterChina Academy of Chinese Medical SciencesBeijingChina
  3. 3.Post-doctoral Research StationChina Academy of Chinese Medical SciencesBeijingChina
  4. 4.China Academy of Chinese Medical SciencesBeijingChina
  5. 5.Eye Function Laboratory, Yanke HospitalChina Academy of Chinese Medical SciencesBeijingChina

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