Qian-Kun-Nin, a Chinese herbal medicine formulation, attenuates mitochondrial oxidant stress in cardiomyocytes

Zuo Hui Shao, Chang Qing Li, Lance B. Becker, Terry L. Vanden Hoek, Paul T. Schumacker, Anoja S. Attele, Liu Zhang, Jing Tian Xie, Chun Su Yuan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Qian-Kun-Nin is a Chinese herbal medicine formulation used for several indications, including the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. This formulation contains herbs which possess antioxidant properties. In this study, Qian-Kun-Nin's ability to confer protection to cardiomyocytes against reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated during mitochondrial electron transport inhibition was tested. The intracellular fluorescent probe 2′,7′-dichlorofluorescin diacetate (DCFH-DA, sensitive to H2O2 and hydroxyl radicals) was used to assess intracellular ROS, and propidium iodide (PI) was used to assess viability in cultured chick embryonic cardiomyocytes. Qian-Kun-Nin significantly attenuated oxidation of DCFH in cells exposed to the mitochondrial site III inhibitor, antimycin A, consistent with a decrease in oxidative stress. These attenuated oxidant levels were associated with improved cell survival. After antimycin A exposure, Qian-Kun-Nin decreased cell death from 51.6 ± 3.3% in untreated cells to 27.3 ± 3.8% in treated cells at 2 h. We conclude that Qian-Kun-Nin attenuates oxidant stress and protects cells from lethal oxidant damage during mitochondrial electron transport inhibition, and thus its therapeutic potential in treating cardiovascular diseases may relate to its antioxidant properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)63-68
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Ethnopharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2001


  • Antimycin A
  • Cardiomyocytes
  • Chinese medicinal herbs
  • Ethnopharmacology
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Hydroxyl radicals
  • Qian-Kun-Nin
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery


Dive into the research topics of 'Qian-Kun-Nin, a Chinese herbal medicine formulation, attenuates mitochondrial oxidant stress in cardiomyocytes'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this