METHODS: Extracts of ZOVR were subjected to in-vivo antihypertensive screening using noninvasive blood pressures in SHRs. The most potent extract, ZOVR petroleum ether extract (ZOP) was then fractionated using n-hexane, chloroform and water. Isolated thoracic aortic rings were harvested and subjected to vascular relaxation studies of n-hexane fraction of ZOP (HFZOP) with incubation of different antagonists such as Nω-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (L-NAME, 10 µmol/L), indomethacin (10 µmol/L), methylene blue (10 µmol/L), atropine (1 µmol/L), glibenclamide (10 µmol/L), prazosin (0.01 µmol/L), and propranolol (1 µmol/L).
RESULTS: During the screening of various ZOVR extracts, ZOP produced the most reduction in blood pressures of SHRs and so did HFZOP. HFZOP significantly decreased phenylephrine-induced contraction and enhanced acetylcholine-induced relaxation. L-NAME, indomethacin, methylene blue, atropine, and glibenclamide significantly potentiated the vasorelaxant effects of HFZOP. Propranolol and prazosin did not alter the vasorelaxant effects of HFZOP. HFZOP significantly suppressed the Ca2+-dependent contraction and influenced the ratio of the responses to phenylephrine in Ca2+-free medium.
CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that ZOP may exert an antihypertensive effect in the SHR model. Its possible vascular relaxation mechanisms involve nitric oxide and prostacyclin release, activation of cGMP-KATP channels, stimulation of muscarinic receptors, and transmembrane calcium channel or Ca2+ release from intracellular stores. Possible active compounds that contribute to the vasorelaxant effects are 6-gingerol, 8-gingerol and 6-shogaol.
Methods: Successive extractions of V. pubescens leaf were carried out to produce petroleum ether (VPPE), chloroform (VPCE), methanol (VPME), and water (VPWE) extracts. Spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) received a daily oral administration of the extracts (500 mg/kg/day; n = 6) or verapamil (15 mg/kg/day; n = 6) for 2 weeks, while the systolic and diastolic blood pressures were measured using non-invasive tail-cuff method. Vasorelaxation assays of the extracts were later conducted using phenylephrine (PE, 1 μM) pre-contracted aortic ring preparation. Mechanisms of vasorelaxation by the most potent fraction were studied using vasorelaxation assays with selected blockers/inhibitors. GC-MS was conducted to determine the active compounds.
Results: VPPE elicited the most significant diminution in systolic and diastolic blood pressure of treated SHRs and produced the most significant vasorelaxation in the aortic rings. Vasorelaxant effects of F2-VPPE were significantly reduced in endothelium-denuded aortic rings by glibenclamide (1 μM), whereas calcium chloride and PE-induced contractions were significantly suppressed. Endothelium removal of the aortic rings or incubation with indomethacin (10 μM), atropine (1 μM), methylene blue (10 μM), propranolol (1μM) and L-NAME (10 μM) did not significantly alter F2-VPPE-induced vasorelaxation. Seven compounds were identified using GC-MS, including spathulenol.
Conclusion: F2-VPPE exerted its endothelium-independent vasorelaxation by inhibition of vascular smooth muscle contraction induced by extracellular Ca+2 influx through trans-membrane Ca+2 channels and/or Ca+2 release from intracellular stores, and by activation of KATP channels. The vasorelaxation effects of V. pubescens could be mediated by the compound, spathulenol.