Magnesium tanshinoate B protects endothelial cells against oxidized lipoprotein-induced apoptosis

Kathy K W AU YEUNG, O. Karmin, Patrick C. Choy, Da Yuan Zhu, Yaw L. Siow*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The activation of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) signaling pathway plays an important role in the induction of cell apoptosis. We previously reported that magnesium tanshinoate B (MTB), a compound purified from a Chinese herb danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza), could inhibit ischemia/reperfusion-induced myocyte apoptosis in the heart. The objective of the present study was to investigate whether MTB can prevent oxidized lipoprotein-induced apoptosis in endothelial cells. Human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs) were incubated with copper-oxidized very low density lipoprotein (Cu-OxVLDL) or copper-oxidized low density lipoprotein (Cu-OxLDL). Treatment of cells with Cu-OxVLDL or Cu-OxLDL resulted in a 3-fold increase in the JNK activity. The amount of cytochrome c released and the activity of caspase-3 in cells treated with Cu-OxVLDL or Cu-OxLDL were significantly elevated, indicating the occurrence of apoptosis. The presence of MTB was able to abolish the JNK activation, cytochrome c release, and caspase-3 activation induced by Cu-OxVLDL or Cu-OxLDL, resulting in a marked reduction in apoptosis in endothelial cells. The data from this study indicate that oxidized lipoproteins induce apoptosis in endothelial cells. We postulate that the inhibition of the JNK signaling pathway by MTB is a key mechanism that protects these cells from oxidized lipoprotein-induced apoptosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1053-1062
Number of pages10
JournalCanadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2007

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Antioxidant
  • Apoptosis
  • Danshen
  • JNK signaling pathway
  • Oxidized lipoproteins


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