During the simulation, a gradual build up of fluorescent marker appeared in the cells. But when the oxygen and sugar were reintroduced into the liquid (simulating the restoration of a pulse) a burst of fluorescence was observed, reflecting a rapid increase in the production of free radicals. In the following hours, the cells never regained their natural ability to beat rhythmically.
In experiments where baicalensis extract was added to the perfusion fluid along with the oxygen and sugar, the cells eventually began to contract rythmically again. "Even though the cells that got the extract never beat entirely normally again, they did regain their ability to contract which is a really great start," says Vanden Hoek.
Cell death after reperfusion of oxygen and sugar decreased from 47 percent in untreated cells to 26 percent in cells receiving the baicalensis extract.
"Though this extract is far from human trials, this paves the way for developing new therapies for cardiac arrest as well as other diseases where oxygen flow is blocked and then restored such as in a stroke," Vanden Hoek explains.
Other researchers on the paper included Zuo-Hui Shao,MD; Chang-Quing Li, MD; Lance Becker, MD, Paul T. Schumacker, Ph.D., from the department of Emergency Medicine and Pulmonary/Critical Care and the Emergency Resuscitation Research Center (ERRC) at the University of Chicago; Ji A. Wu and Anoja S. Attele from the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care and the Committee on Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Chicago.