Myocardial infarction (MI) is an insidious disease, gently spreading in developed and developing countries. MI
is the consequence of hypoxia in myocardial tissue, which may lead to apoptosis, narcosis and followed by cardiac cell
death. Activation of apoptotic pathways during MI is frequently reported in clinical, preclinical and post-mortem studies.
Several mediators of apoptosis signalling cascades culminate into MI leading to cardiomyocytes death. Such involvements
of ischemia-induced apoptosis in MI are widely accepted. Apoptosis is a natural phenomenon for regulating the
homeostasis in cellular organelles. Unlike the necrosis, it is a synchronized energy dependent process which is carried out
by shrinkage of the cell. This contraction of cells leads to squeezing of nuclei and nuclear chromatin into brusquely
demarcated masses. However, such programmed cell death in several tissues, including the myocardium becomes
pathogenic under certain conditions. Moreover, reactive oxygen species (ROS) generated oxidative stress also plays a key
role in production of apoptosis and several associated signalling alterations which ultimately lead to MI. Recently, certain
natural products, especially from the plant kingdom have been evaluated for their anti-apoptotic potential. There is an
uprise in the investigations delineating the exact mechanisms through which natural phytochemicals target apoptosis
associated MI. This review explores novel signalling pathways and target sites for anti-apoptotic phytochemicals having
potential to check the cellular apoptosis consequent to MI. A new vista may explore the prospective treatment of MI by
using apoptosis-modulating natural products.
Keywords: Apoptosis, caspase, herbal plants, myocardial infarction, phytochemicals, reactive oxidative stress.
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