Antioxidant vitamin therapy alters sepsis-related apoptotic myocardial activity and inflammatory responses

Deborah Carlson, David L. Maass, D. Jean White, Jing Tan, Jureta W. Horton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


This study examined the effects of antioxidant vitamins on several aspects of sepsis-related myocardial signaling cascades. Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into four groups: group 1, vehicle-treated shams; group 2, sham-operated rats given antioxidant vitamins (vitamin C, 24 mg/kg; vitamin E, 20 U/kg; vitamin A, 417 U/kg; and zinc, 3.7 ng/kg) by oral gavage in 0.5 ml water twice daily for 3 days and no septic challenge (vitamin-treated, sham-operated rats); group 3, intratracheal delivery of Streptococcus pneumoniae, 4 × 10 6 colony forming units in a volume of 0.3 ml phosphate buffer solution; group 4, S. pneumonia challenge as described for group 3 plus antioxidant vitamins (as described for group 2). Hearts collected 24 h after septic challenge were used to examine several aspects of cell signaling and ventricular function. As a result, when compared with sham-operated rats, sepsis in the absence of antioxidant therapy promoted NF-κB activation, increased mitochondrial cytochrome c release, increased myocyte cytokine secretion, increased caspase activation, and impaired left ventricular function. Antioxidant vitamin therapy plus septic challenge prevented NF-κB activation, reduced mitochondrial cytochrome c release, decreased caspase activity, abrogated cardiomyocyte secretion of inflammatory cytokines, and improved myocardial contractile function. In conclusion, antioxidant vitamin therapy abrogated myocardial inflammatory cytokine signaling and attenuated sepsis-related contractile dysfunction, suggesting that antioxidant vitamin therapy may be a potential approach to treat injury and disease states characterized by myocardial dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2779-H2789
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2006


  • Aspiration-induced pneumonia
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Inflammatory cytokines
  • Left ventricular performance
  • Nuclear factor-κB activation
  • Streptococcus pneumoniae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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