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Barry E. Bleske, Issam Zineh, Hyun Seok Hwang, Gregory J. Welder, Michael M.J. Ghannam, Marvin O. Boluyt
Med Sci Monit 2007; 13(12): BR255-258
Hawthorn extract (Crataegeus sp.) a botanical complementary and alternative medicine is often used to treat heart failure. The mechanism(s) by which hawthorn extract may treat heart failure is unknown but may include, theoretically, immunological effects. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to determine the effect of hawthorn extract on the immunomodulatory response in a pressure overload model of heart failure.
Material and Method: A total of 62 male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to either aortic constriction + vehicle (AC; n=15), aortic constriction + hawthorn 1.3 mg/kg (HL, n=17), aortic constriction + hawthorn 13 mg/kg (HM, n=15), or aortic constriction + hawthorn 130 mg/kg (HH, n=15). Six months after surgical procedure animals were sacrificed and plasma samples obtained for the measurement of the following immunomodulatory markers: interleukin (IL) IL-1ss, IL-2, IL-6, IL-10; and leptin.
Results: The mortality rate following 6 months of aortic constriction was 40% in the AC group compared to 41%, 60%, and 53% for the HL, HM, and HH groups respectively (P>0.05 compared to AC). Aortic constriction produced a similar increase in the left ventricle/body weight ratio for all groups. Hawthorn extract had no effect on the immunomodulatory markers measured in this study, although there appeared to be a trend suggesting suppression of IL-2 plasma concentrations.
Conclusions: In this animal model of heart failure, hawthorn extract failed to significantly affect the immunomodulatory response characterized after 6 months of pressure overload at a time when approximately 50% mortality was exhibited. Mechanisms other than immunological may better define hawthorn's effect in treating heart failure.