Copyright © 2013 Kyungjin Lee 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. The root of Ostericum koreanumMaximowicz has been used as a traditional medicine called “Kanghwal ” in Korea (or “Qianghuo” in China).The purpose of this study was to investigate the vasorelaxant activity andmechanism of action of an ethanol extract of the O. koreanum root (EOK). We used isolated rat aortic rings to assess the effects of EOK on various vasorelaxant or vasoconstriction factors. EOK induced vasorelaxation in phenylephrine hydrochloride (PE) or KCl precontracted aortic rings in a concentration-dependent manner. However, the vasorelaxant effects of EOK on endothelium-intact aortic rings were reduced by pretreatment with l-NAME ormethylene blue. In Ca2+-free Krebs-Henseleit solution, pretreatment with EOK (0.3mg/mL) completely inhibited PE-induced constriction. In addition, EOK (0.3mg/mL) also completely inhibited vasoconstriction induced by supplemental Ca2+ in aortic rings that were precontracted with PE or KCl. Furthermore, the EOK-induced vasorelaxation in PE-contracted aortic rings was inhibited by preincubation with nifedipine. These results indicate that the vasorelaxant effects of EOK are responsible for the induction of NO formation from l-Arg and NO-cGMP pathways, blockage of the extracellular Ca2+ entry via the receptor-operativeCa2+ channel and voltage-dependent calciumchannel, and blockage of sarcoplasmic reticulumCa2+ release via the inositol triphosphate pathway. 1
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