Document Type: Original Article


Medical Biology Research Center, Kermanshah University of Medical Sciences, Kermanshah, Iran


Background: Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammation that interferes with blood arteries functions due to the accumulation of low density lipids and cholesterol. Objective: To investigate the effect of aqueous extract and saponin fraction of Tribulus terrestris L. (TT) on the proteome and expression of intracellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1), vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1), and E-selectin in the human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVEC) and human bone marrow endothelial cell (HBMEC) lines. Methods: Two cell lines were cultured and induced with lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The primed cells were then treated with aqueous extract and saponin fraction of TT. The protein profile of the endothelial cells was assessed under normal and LPS-induced conditions using sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) and 2D gel electrophoresis (2-DE). The levels of VCAM-1, ICAM-1, and E-selectin were estimated by use of western blotting. Results: LPS-induced HUVECs and HBMECs were shown to significantly increase the expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin in comparison to control groups. Our findings revealed that TT extract resulted in significantly more reduced levels of proteom (80 spots) as well as all the three mentioned proteins compared with the effect of saponin fraction alone. Conclusion: TT extract and its saponin fraction exerted anti-inflammatory effects on HUVEC and HBMEC lines and reduced the expression of ICAM-1, VCAM-1, and E-selectin. However, the anti-inflammatory effect of aqueous extract was greater than that of saponin fraction. Therefore, TT could be considered as a potential candidate for the treatment or prevention of atherosclerosis.