The present study investigated the effect of hesperidin, a natural flavonoid, in cardiac ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury in diabetic rats. Male Wistar rats with diabetes were divided into five groups and were orally administered saline once daily (IRsham and IR-control), Hesperidin (100 mg/kg/day; IR-Hesperidin), GW9962 (PPAR-c receptor antagonist), or combination of both for 14 days. On the 15th day, in the IR-control and IR-treatment groups, rats were subjected to left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery occlusion for 45 minutes followed by a one-hour reperfusion. Haemodynamic parameters were recorded and rats were sacrificed; hearts were isolated for biochemical, histopathological, ultrastructural and immunohistochemistry. In the IR-control group, significant ventricular dysfunctions were observed along with enhanced expression of pro-apoptotic protein Bax. A decline in cardiac injury markers lactate dehydrogenase activity, CK-MB and increased content of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances, a marker of lipid peroxidation, and TNF-A were observed. Hesperidin pretreatment significantly improved mean arterial pressure, reduced left ventricular end-diastolic pressure, and improved both inotropic and lusitropic function of the heart (+LVdP/dt and -LVdP/dt) as compared to IR-control. Furthermore, hesperidin treatment significantly decreased the level of thiobarbituric acid reactive substances and reversed the activity of lactate dehydrogenase towards normal value. Hesperidin showed anti-apoptotic effects by upregulating Bcl-2 protein and decreasing Bax protein expression. Additionally, histopathological and ultrastructural studies reconfirmed the protective action of hesperidin. On the other hand, GW9662, selective PPAR-c receptor antagonist, produced opposite effects and attenuated the hesperidin induced improvements. The study for the first time evidence the involvement of PPAR-c pathway in the cardioprotective activity of hesperidin in I/R model in rats.
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