The study aimed to isolate and characterize zinc ionophores from Terminalia bellirica fruit using a liposome assay and test its utility in H9c2 rat cardiomyoblasts cells subjected to hypoxia/reoxygenation. Ethyl acetate extract that exhibited zinc ionophore activity was resolved to yield three polyphenols that were characterized as epicatechin-3-gallate (ECG), epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG) and epigallocatechin (EGC) by nuclear magnetic resonance and electrospray ionization-mass spectra. The polyphenols enhanced the uptake of zinc into the liposomes and increased FluoZin-3 fluorescence. These polyphenols in the presence of 10 μM ZnCl enhanced the zinc import into H9c2 cells, whose intracellular zinc levels were otherwise lowered upon hypoxia/reoxygenation. EGCG proved to be more potent than ECG, which indeed was more effective than EGC in improving cellular zinc levels and in attenuating the apoptosis of H9c2 cells after hypoxia/reoxygenation injury. The polyphenols required zinc for anti-apoptotic effect. The cardioprotective effect is indeed due to enhanced zinc uptake mediated by these polyphenols.
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