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Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 392627, 8 pages
Original Article

Antihypertension Induced by Tanshinone IIA Isolated from the Roots of Salvia miltiorrhiza

1Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, Taipei Medical University-Wan Fang Hospital, Taipei City 11601, Taiwan
2Department of Pharmacy, Tajen University, Yen-Pou, Ping Tung Shien 90701, Taiwan
3Department of Hematology, Guangzhou First Municipal People’s Hospital, Guangzhou City, China
4Department of Biotechnology, Hung Kuang University, Sha Lu, Taichung Shien 43301, Taiwan
5Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan City 70101, Taiwan

Received 22 October 2008; Accepted 7 May 2009

Copyright © 2011 Paul Chan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Tanshinone IIA is one of the active principles in danshen (Salvia miltiorrhiza Bge) widely used in treatment of cardiovascular disorders. We investigated the effect of danshen or tanshinone IIA on blood pressure and its possible mechanisms. An i.p. injection of danshen at 10 mg kg−1 significantly lowered systolic blood pressure (SBP) of spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHRs) but failed to modify the SBP in normotensive Wistar-Kyoto rats (WKY). Oral administration of tanshinone IIA also decreased SBP in SHR but not in WKY. Tanshinone IIA produced a concentration-dependent relaxation in isolated SHR aortic rings precontracted with phenylephrine (10 nmol l−1) or potassium chloride (KCl) (40 mmol l−1). The relaxing effect of tanshinone IIA on tonic contraction of phenylephrine in isolated aortic rings without endothelium remained produced. Glibenclamide at concentration sufficient to block adenosine triphosphatase (ATP)-sensitive potassium (K+) channel attenuated this tanshinone IIA-induced relaxation that was not influenced by other inhibitors. We further investigated the effect of tanshinone IIA on the changes of intracellular calcium concentration ( ) in cultured aortic smooth muscle (A7r5) cells using fura-2 as indicator. Tanshinone IIA decreased elicited by phenylephrine (10 nmol l−1) or KCl (40 mmol l−1) in a concentration-dependent manner; glibenclamide, but not other inhibitors for K+ channel, abated this effect. Our results suggest that tanshinone IIA acts as an active principle of danshen showing vasodilation through ATP-sensitive K+ channel to lower .