Research Article| Volume 173, ISSUE 2, P203-210, April 2004

A novel alkaloid antioxidant, Boldine and synthetic antioxidant, reduced form of RU486, inhibit the oxidation of LDL in-vitro and atherosclerosis in vivo in LDLR−/− mice


      A corollary to the oxidation hypothesis of atherosclerosis is that the consumption of antioxidants is beneficial. However, the literature is divided in support of this conclusion. In this study, Boldine, an alkaloid of Peumus boldus and reduced form of RU486, was tested for their antioxidant potency both in, in vitro oxidation system and in mouse models. Boldine decreased the ex-vivo oxidation of low-density lipoprotein (LDL). Two different in vivo studies were performed to study the effect of these compounds on the atherosclerotic lesion formation in LDLR−/− mice. In study I, three groups of LDLR−/− mice (N=12 each) were fed an atherogenic diet. Group 1 was given vehicle and group 2 and 3 were given 1 mg of Boldine or Red RU per day for 12 weeks. In study II, two groups of LDLR−/− mice (N=10 each) were fed an atherogenic diet. Group 1 was given vehicle and group 2 was given 5 mg of Boldine per day. The results indicated that there was a decrease in lesion formation reaching a 40% reduction due to Boldine and 45% reduction by Red RU compared to controls. The in vivo tolerance of Boldine in humans (has been used as an herbal medicine in other diseases) should make it an attractive alternative to Vitamin E.


      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'


      Subscribe to Atherosclerosis
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect


        • Parthasarathy S
        • Santanam N
        • Auge N
        Oxidized low-density lipoprotein, a two-faced Janus in coronary artery disease?.
        Biochem. Pharmacol. 1998; 56: 279-284
      1. Parthasarathy S, Santanam N, Auge N. In: Papas AM, editor. Antioxidants and low density lipoprotein oxidation; 1998, Boca Raton: CRC Press. p. 347–69.

        • Parthasarathy S
        • Khan-Merchant N
        • Penumetcha M
        • Khan B.V
        • Santanam N
        Did the antioxidant trials fail to validate the oxidation hypothesis?.
        Curr. Atheroscler. Rep. 2001; 3: 392-398
        • Rosenson R.S
        • Brown A.S
        Statin use in acute coronary syndromes: cellular mechanisms and clinical evidence.
        Curr. Opin. Lipidol. 2002; 13: 625-630
        • Cheung M.C
        • et al.
        Antioxidant supplements block the response of HDL to simvastatin-niacin therapy in patients with coronary artery disease and low HDL.
        Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 2001; 21: 1320-1326
        • Lanhers M.C
        • et al.
        Hepatoprotective and anti-inflammatory effects of a traditional medicinal plant of Chile, Peumus boldus.
        Planta Med. 1991; 57: 110-115
        • Parthasarathy S
        • Morales A.J
        • Murphy A.A
        Antioxidant: a new role for RU-486 and related compounds.
        J. Clin. Invest. 1994; 94: 1990-1995
        • Carpenter S.E
        • et al.
        Inhibition of oxidative modification of proteins by RU486.
        Fertil. Steril. 1996; 66: 90-94
        • Santanam N
        • Parthasarathy S
        Paradoxical actions of antioxidants in the oxidation of low density lipoprotein by peroxidases.
        J. Clin. Invest. 1995; 95: 2594-2600
        • Noble R.P
        Electrophoretic separation of plasma lipoproteins in agarose gel.
        J. Lipid Res. 1968; 9: 693-700
        • Lowry O.H
        • et al.
        Protein measurement with the Folin phenol reagent.
        J. Biol. Chem. 1951; 193: 265-275
        • Regnstrom J
        • et al.
        Analysis of lipoprotein diene formation in human serum exposed to copper.
        Free Radic. Res. Commun. 1993; 19: 267-278
        • Palinski W
        • et al.
        ApoE-deficient mice are a model of lipoprotein oxidation in atherogenesis. Demonstration of oxidation-specific epitopes in lesions and high titers of autoantibodies to malondialdehyde-lysine in serum.
        Arterioscler. Thromb. 1994; 14: 605-616
        • Meilhac O
        • et al.
        Role of arterial wall antioxidant defense in beneficial effects of exercise on atherosclerosis in mice.
        Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 2001; 21: 1681-1688
        • Innis-Whitehouse W
        • et al.
        An efficient chromatographic system for lipoprotein fractionation using whole plasma.
        J. Lipid. Res. 1998; 39: 679-690
        • Kim J.G
        • et al.
        Generation of a polyclonal antibody against lipid peroxidemodified proteins.
        Free Radic. Biol. Med. 1997; 23: 251-259
        • Santanam N
        • et al.
        Vitamin E supplementation decreases autoantibodies to oxidized-lipid protein complexes.
        J. Med. Food. 1999; 1: 247-251
        • Jimenez I
        • Speisky H
        Biological disposition of Boldine: in vitro and in vivo studies.
        Phytother. Res. 2000; 14: 254-260
        • Speisky H
        • et al.
        Antioxidant properties of the alkaloid Boldine in systems undergoing lipid peroxidation and enzyme inactivation.
        Biochem. Pharmacol. 1991; 41: 1575-1581
        • Jang Y.Y
        • et al.
        Protective effect of Boldine on oxidative mitochondrial damage in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats.
        Pharmacol. Res. 2000; 42: 361-371
        • Donetti E
        • et al.
        Dual effects of the antioxidant agents probucol and carvedilol on proliferative and fatty lesions in hypercholesterolemic rabbits.
        Atherosclerosis. 1998; 141: 45-51
        • Moghadasian M.H
        • et al.
        Proatherogenic and antiatherogenic effects of probucol and phytosterols in apolipoprotein E-deficient mice: possible mechanisms of action.
        Circulation. 1999; 99: 1733-1739
        • Yoshikawa T
        • et al.
        Effects of probucol on atherosclerosis of apoE-deficient or LDL receptor-deficient mice.
        Horm. Metab. Res. 2001; 33: 472-479
        • Simons L.A
        • et al.
        Vitamin E ingestion does not improve arterial endothelial dysfunction in older adults.
        Atherosclerosis. 1999; 143: 193-199
        • Cassels B.K
        • et al.
        Structure-antioxidative activity relationships in benzylisoquinoline alkaloids.
        Pharmacol. Res. 1995; 31: 103-107
        • Baulieu E.E
        On the mechanism of action of RU486a.
        Ann. N. Y. Acad. Sci. 1991; 626: 545-560
        • Murphy A.A
        • et al.
        RU486-induced growth inhibition of human endometrial cells.
        Fertil. Steril. 2000; 74: 1014-1019
        • Speisky H
        • Cassels B.K
        Boldo and Boldine: an emerging case of natural drug development.
        Pharmacol. Res. 1994; 29: 1-12