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Journal of Chemistry
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 9150108, 14 pages
Review Article

Molecular Mechanisms of Cardioprotective Actions of Tanshinones

1National Institute of Complementary Medicine, Western Sydney University, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia
2Division of Chinese Medicine, School of Health Sciences, RMIT University, Bundoora, VIC 3083, Australia

Received 22 October 2015; Accepted 17 January 2016

Academic Editor: Hani El-Nezami

Copyright © 2016 Hyou-Ju Jin and Chun-Guang Li. 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.


Tanshinones are lipophilic compounds derived from Salvia miltiorrhiza (Danshen) that has been widely used to treat coronary heart diseases in China. The cardioprotective actions of tanshinones have been extensively studied in various models of myocardial infarction, cardiac ischemia reperfusion injury, cardiac hypertrophy, atherosclerosis, hypoxia, and cardiomyopathy. This review outlines the recent development in understanding the molecular mechanisms and signaling pathways involved in the cardioprotective actions of tanshinones, in particular on mitochondrial apoptosis, calcium, nitric oxide, ROS, TNF-α, PKC, PI3K/Akt, IKK/NF-κB, and TGF-β1/Smad mechanisms, which highlights the potential of these compounds as therapeutic agents for treating cardiovascular diseases.