The present study was designed to explore whether yam could protect the heart from doxorubicin (DOX)-induced oxidative stress leading to cardiotoxicity in vivo. In this study, the protective effects of water and ethanol extracts of three varieties of yam, including water extracts of Dioscorea japonica Thunb., ethanol extracts of D. japonica Thunb., water extracts of Dioscorea alata, ethanol extracts of D. alata, water extracts of Dioscorea purpurea, and ethanol extracts of D. purpurea, against DOX-induced cardiotoxicity in experimental mice were evaluated. DOX treatment led to significant decreases in the ratio of heart weight to body weight and heart rate, and increases in blood pressure and the serum level of lactate dehydrogenase, a marker of cardiotoxicity, were recovered by yam extracts, especially in water extracts of D. alata. Yam extracts also decreased the cardiac levels of thiobarbituric acid relative substances, reactive oxygen species, and inflammatory factors, as well as the expression of nuclear factor kappa B, while ethanol extracts of D. japonica Thunb. and D. purpurea were shown to be more potent. Moreover, yam extracts had a role in increasing the activities of glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase, thus improving the DOX-induced alterations in oxidative status in the heart tissue of DOX-treated mice. All ethanol extracts of yam exhibited their antiapoptotic abilities on caspase-3 activation and mitochondrial dysfunction, and ethanol extracts of D. alata still exerted a superior effect. Based on these findings, it can be concluded that yam has significant cardioprotective properties against DOX-induced damage via its multiple effects on antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, or antiapoptotic activities. © 2016

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