Artichoke extract ameliorates age-related endothelial dysfunction in rats. - GreenMedInfo Summary
Wild artichoke prevents the age-associated loss of vasomotor function.
Ophthalmic Res. 2009;42(2):112-6. Epub 2009 Jun 26. PMID: 16366729
Endothelial dysfunction, which is more often observed in conduit arteries such as the aorta, carotid, femoral, and brachial arteries, is largely due to alterations in cellular signal transduction initiated by an escalating cycle of damage triggered by oxidative stress. This phenomenon is exacerbated in the elderly, where a progressive loss of vascular endothelial function and concurrent loss of vasomotor control is frequent. In a previous study, we demonstrated that the wild artichoke (Cynara cardunculus) is able to increase the production of the vasorelaxant factor nitric oxide by cultured aortic endothelial cells. We now extended that study to verify (1) the vasorelaxant potential of C. cardunculus on isolated rat aortic rings and (2) whether the vasomodulating properties of C. cardunculus are maintained in vivo, after administration to aged rats. The results demonstrate that the wild artichoke and its main components, namely, luteolin and apigenin, improve aortic relaxation when added to the incubation bath. Moreover, the feeding of wild artichoke [10 mg (kg of polyphenols)(-1) day(-1)] to aged rats significantly restores proper vasomotion, to a degree similar to that observed in young animals. This study provides further justification to the advice to consume wild greens as part of a balanced diet and suggests that close attention should be paid to the diet of the elderly, because it can effectively modulate important parameters of cardiovascular risk.