Methanol extracts of Strophanthus hispidus exhibit anti-apoptotic effects via alteration of cytochrome c and caspase 3 levels in rats with myocardial infarction

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Myocardial infarction (MI) remains the leading cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD) in adults worldwide. The most effective treatment is reperfusion; nevertheless, the process causes apoptosis which has recently become a target in CVD therapy. Medicinal plants are used in the treatment of MI in Nigeria ethnomedicine; however, there is unknown information on the effect of the methanol stem bark extracts of Strophanthus hispidus (SH) on the apoptotic process. The study was designed to investigate the effects of SH on certain biomarkers and apoptotic markers. Hearts and homogenate obtained from male Wistar rats daily pretreated with SH for 14 days before Isoprenaline hydrochloride intraperitoneal injection (100 mg/kg) were obtained. Anti-oxidant activities were assessed by spectrophotometry, levels of cytochrome C (cyt c), and caspase 3 were determined by immunohistochemistry and MI-induced heart damage assessed by histology. Pretreatment not only protected against excessive release of cyt c but also resulted in decreased caspase 3 activation, which prompted the decrease in excessive apoptosis. The reduction in lipid peroxidation levels in ISO-induced MI in rats treatment with 200 and 400 mg/kg SH positively correlated with decrease in creatine kinase and Aspartate aminotransferase levels. SH showed anti-apoptotic effects, at least in part, in ISO-induced MI through down-regulation of cyt c release and activation of caspase 3.

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We acknowledge the technical assistance of the Technologist (Mr. R. O. Malomo), Crawford University, Igbesa, Ogun State, Nigeria.


The study did not receive any specific grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.

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Correspondence to Oluwatoyin O. Ojo.

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Ojo, O.O., Emoghwa, A.R. Methanol extracts of Strophanthus hispidus exhibit anti-apoptotic effects via alteration of cytochrome c and caspase 3 levels in rats with myocardial infarction. Chem. Pap. 74, 521–528 (2020).

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  • Strophanthus hispidus
  • Cytochrome c
  • Caspase 3
  • Cardio-protection
  • Lipid peroxidation