The Application of Artemisinin and Its Derivatives in Cardiovascular Diseases

Translated by: MOS Information Team – Fox

Preface: In addition to anti-malaria, artemisinin and its derivatives also have protective effects on the cardiovascular system. Artemisinin can inhibit atherosclerosis, antiarrhythmia, and inhibit myocardial infarction by increasing vascular smooth muscle cells contractile gene expression, changing Cardiac action potential, and inhibiting myocardial interstitial fibrosis. It provides innovative solutions for the treatment of cardiovascular diseases.

Drawing of the artemisinin annua plants which artemisinin is extracted from.

Artemisinin is a sesquiterpene lactone compound with peroxy bridge isolated from artemisia annua, a plant of compositae family. Its derivatives mainly include dihydroartemisinin, artesunate, artemether, etc. Artemisinin and its derivatives are classic frontline antimalarial drugs, and they also have various pharmacological effects such as antitumor, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fibrosis, and good for treating systemic lupus erythematosus. Studies have found that artemisinin and its derivatives also have therapeutic effects in the cardiovascular field.

1. Artemisinin and atherosclerosis: The development of atherosclerosis is associated with the phenotypic transformation of vascular smooth muscle cells. Studies have shown that artemisinin can reduce plaque area in a mouse model of atherosclerosis.

2. Artemisinin and arrhythmia: Artemisinin has anti-arrhythmic effects. It has been found that artemisinin produces anti-arrhythmic effects by interfering with the outward rectification in ventricular myocytes. In addition, studies have found that artemisinin may reduce heart rate in the tested rabbits.

3. Artemisinin and myocardial infarction: Studies have shown that the animal model for myocardial infarction is constructed by ligating the left anterior descending coronary artery in rats, which were treated with artemisinin and carboxymethyl cellulose, respectively. Four weeks later, it was found that the survival rate of rats in the artemisinin treatment group was significantly higher than that in the carboxymethyl cellulose group. This indicates the potential application value of artemisinin in post-infarction sympathetic remodeling.

4. Artemisinin and chronic heart failure: Artemisinin has the effect of improving the prospect for heart failure. Among the experiments of the rabbit with chronic heart failure, the artemisinin group shows that artemisinin can significantly improve heart functions of the rabbits, compared with the control group.

5. Artemisinin and diabetic cardiomyopathy: Diabetic cardiomyopathy is characterized by myocardial fibrosis, cardiometabolic disorders, and structural and functional abnormalities in left ventricle, which eventually progresses to heart failure. Artemisinin can alleviate myocardial fibrosis of diabetic cardiomyopathy, significantly improve the cardiac systolic function and, to some extent, the cardiac diastolic function.

6. Artemisinin and other cardiovascular diseases: It has been found that artesunate can treat viral myocarditis caused by human herpes virus. After treatment with artesunate in children with myocarditis, the clinical symptoms and cardiac function improved without adverse reactions. Artemisinin and its derivatives can significantly reduce the level of inflammatory factors, thereby reducing the damage to the cardiovascular system caused by inflammatory factors.

7. Applicable use cases for artemisinin: In terms of safety, the analysis of the treatment results from malaria patients has confirmed the safety of artemisinin. A large number of studies have shown that artemisinin and its derivatives are effective in treating cardiovascular diseases to some extent, but the mechanism is not yet fully understood and further research is required.

(The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only. Please consult your doctor for medical advice)

References: Original article – The application of artemisinin and its derivatives in cardiovascular diseases

Proofread and posted by: RD16

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