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Stimulation protocols in isolated AV node were used to quantify AV nodal recovery, facilitation and fatigue in four groups of rabbits (n?=?8�C16 per group). In addition, the nodal response to AF was evaluated at multiple cycle lengths and during AF. Saffron had a depressant effect on AV nodal rate-dependent properties; further, it increased Wenckebach block cycle length, functional refractory period, facilitation and fatigue (p? electrophysiological remodeling of the AV node during AF by saffron. Saffron increased the AV nodal refractoriness and zone of concealment. These depressant effects of saffron were mediated by endogenous NO. Copyright ? 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ""Diabetic ophthalmopathy (DO) impairs patients' eyesight and even causes blindness. Here, we investigated the effect of 60% ethanol extract of the rhizome of Anemarrhenae asphodeloides (ERA), which is commonly used in Chinese medicine formulae in treating diabetes, on DO progression. Blood glucose, insulin, advanced glycation end products (AGE), super oxygen dehydrogenises (SOD), malondialdehyde (MDA) and glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) levels in serum and sorbitol concentration in the lens were measured. Retinal endothelium/pericyte (E/P) ratio was evaluated, and structural changes of the retina and lens were observed. Effects of mangiferin and neomangiferin, the two major components of ERA, on subnormal growth of pericytes induced by high glucose were also detected. It was found that the activities of SOD and GSH-Px in serum were increased, whereas MDA and AGE levels in serum and sorbitol concentration in the lens were decreased in ERA-treated DO rats. E/P ratio was decreased, and the pathological changes of the lens and retina were alleviated by ERA treatment. Moreover, the subnormal growth of pericytes induced by high glucose was ameliorated by mangiferin and neomangiferin. These results indicated that ERA could effectively prevent DO progression in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats, and mangiferin and neomangiferin may be the main effective components. Copyright ? 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. ""Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO, USA The neuroprotective effect of Withania somnifera L. Dunal fruit extract, in rodent models, is known. Withanamides, the primary active constituents in W.?somnifera fruit extract exhibited neuroprotective effects against ��-amyloid-induced cytotoxicity in neuronal cell culture studies. Therefore, we investigated the blood�Cbrain barrier permeability of withanamides in W.