Energy drinks (ED) are beverages containing caffeine, taurine, vitamins, herbal extracts, and sugar or sweeteners. They are marketed as capable of improving stamina, athletic performance and concentration, moreover, as serving as a source of energy. Still, there are very few papers describing the impact of ED on cell biology – including cell apoptosis within tissues. Therefore, in our study, we assessed the symptoms of rat cardiomyocytes apoptosis after 8 weeks consumption of ED.
For the research, we used male Wistar rats divided into 2 groups (experimental and control). The experimental animals received ED at a dose average of 0.190 ml per g of body weight per day for a period of 8 weeks. The animals of the control group received just water and food without limitation. After 8 weeks, the rats were decapitated; hearts and other organs were collected. After embedding in paraffin blocks, 5μm thick tissue slides were prepared and stained according to standard hematoxylin and eosine (H&E) staining protocol. Additional slides were stained by immunohistochemistry with antibodies directed against either caspaze-3 or p53 protein.
Our results showed that the expression of caspase 3 and p53 protein varied depending on the group of rats. The expression of caspase 3 observed in cardiomyocytes was much more intense in the experimental group compared to the control group. Furthermore, the immunoprecipitation of p53 protein was observed more frequently in the cardiomyocytes nuclei of the experimental group than in the control group.
Obtained results suggest that chronic use of ED induces intracellular disorders and apoptosis in consumer cardiomyocytes.
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