Diesel Exhaust Particles Induce Impairment of Vascular and Cardiac Homeostasis in Mice: Ameliorative Effect of Emodin

Abderrahim Nemmar, Rauda Al Dhaheri, Jawaher Alamiri, Suhaila Al Hefeiti, Hajar Al Saedi, Sumaya Beegam, Priya Yuvaraju, Javed Yasin, Badreldin H. Ali

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Aim: There is strong epidemiological and clinical evidence that components of the cardiovascular system are adversely affected by particulate air pollutants through the generation of inflammation and oxidative stress. Emodin (1,3,8-trihydroxy-6-methylanthraquinone), which is commonly found in the roots of rhubarb plant, has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. However, its possible protective effect on the cardiovascular effect of particulate air pollutants has never been reported before. Methods: We tested, in Tuck-Ordinary mice, the possible ameliorative effect of emodin on the acute (24h) cardiovascular effects of diesel exhaust particles (DEP, 1 mg/kg) or saline (control). Emodin (4 mg/kg) was administered intraperitoneally 1h before and 7h after pulmonary exposure to DEP. Twenty four h following DEP exposure, several cardiovascular endpoints were assessed. Results: Emodin significantly prevented the increase of leukocyte (n=8, P<0.001) and erythrocyte (n=8, P<0.01) numbers caused by DEP. Likewise, emodin abrogated DEP-induced increase of heart tissue levels of interleukin 1β (n=8, P<0.01) and tumour necrosis factor α (n=8, P<0.05), and significantly mitigated the change of the activities of antioxidant enzymes superoxide dismutase (n=8, P<0.001) and glutathione reductase (n=8, P<0.05). Emodin abolished the in vivo prothrombotic effect of DEP in pial arterioles (n=6, P<0.01) and venules (n=6, P<0.001). Similarly, emodin prevented platelet aggregation in vitro in whole blood (n=4-5, P<0.01), and the shortening of activated partial thromboplastin time (n=4, P<0.001) and prothrombin time (n=4, P<0.01) caused by DEP. Conclusion: We conclude that emodin treatment has consistently protected against DEP-induced impairment of vascular and cardiac homeostasis in mice. Our study provides experimental evidence that the use of functional food such as emodin, pending further studies, can be considered a useful agent and may have the potential to protect or mitigate the cardiovascular detrimental effects observed in people living in cities with high concentrations of particulate air pollution.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1517-1526
Number of pages10
JournalCellular Physiology and Biochemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Air Pollution
  • Emodin
  • Heart
  • Inflammation
  • Particulate matter
  • Thrombosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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