Hawthorn is a Friendly Way to Strengthen Heart Beats
The hawthorn extract LI 132 (crataegus), prepared from leaves and flowers, and standardised to 2.2% flavonoids, was investigated with respect to its effect on (1) the contraction, (2) the energy-turnover and (3) the apparent refractory period (t(ref)) of isolated cardiac myocytes from adult rats. (1) The contractile behaviour of attached myocytes was analyzed by an image processing system. (2) The energy turnover was calculated from the decrease in oxygen content in the myocyte suspension, brought about by cellular respiration. It was differentiated between energy turnover related to cell shortening and that required for ionic transport processes by application of the contraction-inhibiting agent 2,3-butanedione monoxime. (3) The apparent refractory period (t(ref)) was evaluated by pacing the myocytes with increasing stimulation rates and determining the frequency at which failure of single contractions occurred. For these purposes, the myocytes were incubated in a stimulation chamber, which is part of a computer-assisted system allowing to simultaneously evaluate the mechanics and energetics of electrically induced contraction. Within a range of 30-180 microg/ml, the hawthorn extract exhibited a positive inotropic effect on the contraction amplitude accompanied by a moderate increase of energy turnover both for mechanical and ionic processes. In comparison with other positive inotropic interventions, such as application of the beta-adrenergic agonist isoprenaline, or of the cardiac glycoside ouabain (g-strophantin), or elevation of the extracellular Ca++-concentration, the effects of the hawthorn extract were significantly more economical with respect to the energetics of the myocytes. Furthermore the extract prolonged the apparent refractory period in the presence and the absence of isoprenaline, which be indicative for an antiarrhythmic potential.
Pöpping S, Rose H, Ionescu I, Fischer Y, Kammermeier H. Effect of a hawthorn extract on contraction and energy turnover of isolated rat cardiomyocytes. Arzneimittelforschung. 1995 November Institute of Physiology, Medical Faculty, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule, Aachen, Germany.