Natural Compound Treatment Helps Protect the Heart from High-Altitude Damage

Greg Howard
23rd May, 2024

Natural Compound Treatment Helps Protect the Heart from High-Altitude Damage

Image Source: Natural Science News, 2024

Key Findings

  • Researchers from Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine studied the effects of notoginsenoside R1 on high-altitude myocardial injury (HAMI)
  • Notoginsenoside R1 significantly reduced heart damage markers and improved heart function under low-oxygen conditions
  • The compound enhanced the activity of Nrf2, a protein that helps protect cells from oxidative stress, reducing heart inflammation and cell death
High-altitude myocardial injury (HAMI) is a severe condition that arises due to the lack of oxygen at high altitudes, leading to significant heart damage. Currently, effective drug therapies for HAMI are limited. Recent research conducted by Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine has explored the potential of notoginsenoside R1, a compound derived from Panax notoginseng, to treat HAMI[1]. This study could provide a breakthrough in managing this critical condition. Notoginsenoside R1 has previously shown cardioprotective effects in various heart-related conditions, including myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury, sepsis-induced cardiomyopathy, cardiac fibrosis, and general myocardial injury. The researchers aimed to determine if these benefits could extend to HAMI by constructing a model to simulate the condition. They administered notoginsenoside R1 at dosages of 50 mg/kg and 100 mg/kg and observed its effects on heart health under hypoxic conditions. The study found that notoginsenoside R1 significantly reduced levels of several biomarkers associated with heart damage, such as CK, CK-MB, LDH, and BNP. These reductions led to improved cardiac function and a decreased incidence of arrhythmias. Importantly, the compound was found to enhance the nuclear translocation of Nrf2, a protein that plays a crucial role in cellular defense against oxidative stress. This process regulated the SLC7A11/GPX4/HO-1 pathway and iron metabolism, mitigating a type of cell death known as ferroptosis, which is driven by iron-dependent lipid peroxidation. By doing so, notoginsenoside R1 reduced cardiac inflammation and oxidative stress induced by high-altitude conditions. The involvement of Nrf2 in the therapeutic effects of notoginsenoside R1 was further confirmed by using ML385, a specific inhibitor of Nrf2. This step validated that the protective effects against HAMI were indeed mediated through Nrf2 nuclear translocation signaling. These findings align with previous studies that have explored the impact of high-altitude environments on human health. For instance, research has shown that living at high altitudes can significantly alter the intestinal microbiota and various blood clinical indexes, including glucose and testosterone levels[2]. Another study highlighted the rapid metabolic adaptations that occur in humans at high altitudes, such as increased production of 2,3-bisphosphoglycerate (2,3-BPG), which enhances oxygen release from hemoglobin[3]. Additionally, native Tibetans have been found to maintain their adaptation to high altitudes even after prolonged stays at lower altitudes, experiencing fewer cases of acute mountain sickness compared to Han Chinese individuals[4]. The current study on notoginsenoside R1 builds on these earlier findings by providing a potential therapeutic approach to mitigate the adverse effects of high-altitude environments on the heart. By targeting the Nrf2 pathway and reducing ferroptosis, notoginsenoside R1 offers a promising strategy to protect against HAMI, which could be particularly beneficial for individuals who are exposed to high altitudes for extended periods. In summary, the research conducted by Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine demonstrates that notoginsenoside R1 can effectively protect against high-altitude myocardial injury by enhancing Nrf2 nuclear translocation and regulating iron metabolism. This discovery opens new avenues for the treatment of HAMI and contributes to our understanding of how to manage the health challenges posed by high-altitude environments.



Main Study

1) Notoginsenoside R1 treatment facilitated Nrf2 nuclear translocation to suppress ferroptosis via Keap1/Nrf2 signaling pathway to alleviated high-altitude myocardial injury.

Published 21st May, 2024

Related Studies

2) Impacts of the Plateau Environment on the Gut Microbiota and Blood Clinical Indexes in Han and Tibetan Individuals.

3) Beneficial Role of Erythrocyte Adenosine A2B Receptor-Mediated AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Activation in High-Altitude Hypoxia.

4) Acute mountain sickness, arterial oxygen saturation and heart rate among Tibetan students who reascend to Lhasa after 7 years at low altitude: a prospective cohort study.

Related Articles

An unhandled error has occurred. Reload 🗙