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Roselle (Hibiscus sabdariffa Linn) has been traditionally used as folk medicine for hypertension and maintaining cardiovascular health, with therapeutic potential in protecting against numerous cardiovascular diseases. However, it remains unclear whether roselle can be used for management of cardiac hypertrophy seen after myocardial infarction (MI). This study therefore investigated the effects of aqueous roselle extract on cardiac hypertrophy arising from myocardial infarction both in vivo and in vitro. For in vivo study, male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into control or MI groups (receiving 85 mg/kg isoproterenol s.c. for 2 days) and were given roselle extract (100 mg/kg, p.o daily) for 28 days. Cardiac structure and functional changes were evaluated at study end-point using histology, Langendorff analysis and gene expression analysis. In vitro effects of roselle were also assessed on ANG II-induced cardiomyocytes hypertrophy using H9c2 cells, simulating cardiac hypertrophy evident after MI. Roselle significantly ameliorated MI-induced cardiac systolic and diastolic dysfunction, as seen across improvement in left ventricular developed pressure (LVDP) and its derivative (LVdP/dtmax) and isovolumic relaxation (Tau). Oxidative stress evident across elevated pro-oxidant markers (NOX2 subunit of NADPH oxidase and 8-isoprostane) as well as reduced antioxidant markers (superoxide dismutase and glutathione) were also significantly attenuated by roselle. Furthermore, roselle treatment markedly reduced markers of cardiac remodeling (cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis) compared to the untreated MI rats. On in vitro analysis, roselle significantly attenuated ANG II-induced cardiomyoycte hypertrophy in dose-dependent manner. This study demonstrated that roselle attenuates cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction seen after MI both in vivo and in vitro, and these effects are likely mediated by phenolic compounds found in roselle extract.
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