Background:Exposure to intermittent hypoxia (IH) may enhance cardiac function and protects heart against ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. To elucidate the underlying mechanisms, we developed a cardioprotective IH model that was characterized at hemodynamic, biochemical and molecular levels.Methods:Mice were exposed to 4 daily IH cycles (each composed of 2-min at 6-8% O2 followed by 3-min reoxygenation for 5 times) for 14 days, with normoxic mice as controls. Mice were then anesthetized and subdivided in various subgroups for analysis of contractility (pressure-volume loop), morphology, biochemistry or resistance to I/R (30-min occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) followed by reperfusion and measurement of the area at risk and infarct size). In some mice, the phosphatidylinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitor wortmannin was administered (24 μg/kg ip) 15 min before LAD.Results:We found that IH did not induce myocardial hypertrophy; rather both contractility and cardiac function improved with greater number of capillaries per unit volume and greater expression of VEGF-R2, but not of VEGF. Besides increasing the phosphorylation of protein kinase B (Akt) and the endothelial isoform of NO synthase with respect to control, IH reduced the infarct size and post-LAD proteins carbonylation, index of oxidative damage. Administration of wortmannin reduced the level of Akt phosphorylation and worsened the infarct size.Conclusion:We conclude that the PI3K/Akt pathway is crucial for IH-induced cardioprotection and may represent a viable target to reduce myocardial I/R injury.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)