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Garlic oil component protects heart


Washington : A garlic oil component may help protect the heart after it suffers an attack, during cardiac surgery or as a treatment for heart failure.

At low concentrations, hydrogen sulphide (H2S) gas has been found to protect the heart from damage. However, this unstable and volatile compound has been difficult to deliver as therapy.

Researchers at Atlanta’s Emory University School of Medicine have turned to diallyl trisulphide, a garlic oil component, as a way to deliver the benefits of H2S to the heart.

Their findings suggest that doctors could use diallyl trisulfide in many of the situations where researchers have proposed using H2S, a university statement said.

“We are now performing studies with orally active drugs that release hydrogen sulphide-this could avoid the need to inject sulphide-delivery drugs outside of an emergency situation,” says David Lefer, researcher at the Emory School of Medicine.

Conducting an experiment with Lefer, postdoctoral fellow Benjamin Predmore blocked the coronary arteries of mice for 45 minutes, simulating a heart attack, and gave them diallyl sulphide just before blood flow was restored. The compound reduced the proportion of damaged heart tissue in the area at risk by 61 percent, compared with untreated animals.

“Interruption of oxygen and blood flow damages mitochondria (which powers a cell), and loss of mitochondrial integrity can lead to cell death,” says Predmore.

“We see that diallyl sulphide can temporarily turn down the function of mitochondria, preserving them and lowering the production of reactive oxygen species,” he adds.

These findings were presented on Wednesday at the American Heart Association (AHA) Scientific Sessions conference, Orlando, US.