Mango tree extract could prevent heart injury

A group of doctors from All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi, has shown the protective effects of mangiferin (a compound present in the bark of all mango trees) on reperfusion injury in diabetic rats. Reperfusion injury happens in heart tissues when blood supply returns after a heart attack. The study was published in the journal Scientific Reports.

Mangiferin, found in the bark, leaves and fruit of mango trees, is known to possess several beneficial properties — antioxidant, antitumour, anticancer, antidiabetic and antibacterial properties.

For the study, the researchers used three groups of rats in which diabetes was induced. While no heart injury was induced in the control group, the second group of rats had a heart injury induced after 28 days but not treated with mangiferin. The third group was given mangiferin for 28 days and then heart injury was induced. All the rats were sacrificed and the heart was surgically removed and studied for various parameters.

All the diabetic rats treated with mangiferin showed improved blood-pumping ability, restored antioxidants, reduced swelling and death of cells. The architecture of the myocardium was maintained despite the injury and the heart muscle fibre remained intact.

Glucose present in the blood of patients with diabetes leads to the formation of certain proteins (advanced glycation end products or AGE), which causes various complications of diabetes. Mangiferin favourably reduced this protein, thus preventing stress, swelling and cell death after the heart injury. The study on the heart tissue revealed how mangiferin reduced cell death — it increased the expression of proteins which act against cell death and decreased the proteins causing cell death. Mangiferin also decreased the level of inflammatory and stress proteins.

“This is our third module of study. We have already studied effects of mangiferin on isoproterenol and ischemia-reperfusion induced myocardial injury in rats. Now we have found that mangiferin can prevent myocardial injury in diabetic rats,” says Dr. Salma Malik, who is a research associate at the Department of Pharmacology, AIIMS and a co-author of the paper. However, the conclusion of this study needs to be further validated to establish its clinical usefulness in patients of myocardial ischemia with coexisting diabetes.

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