Postconditioning via stuttering reperfusion limits myocardial infarct size in rabbit hearts: Role of ERK1/2

Chad E. Darling, Kong Jiang, Michelle Maynard, Peter Whittaker, Jakob Vinten-Johansen, Karin Przyklenk

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195 Scopus citations


Emerging evidence suggests that restoration of blood flow in a stuttering manner may limit lethal myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. However, the mechanisms contributing to this phenomenon, termed postconditioning (post-C), remain poorly defined. Our aim was to test the hypothesis that activation of classic "survival kinases," phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3-kinase) and/or extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK)1/2, may play a role in post-C-induced cardioprotection. In protocol 1, isolated buffer-perfused rabbit hearts underwent 30 min of sustained coronary artery occlusion and were randomized to receive abrupt reperfusion (controls) or four cycles of 30 s of reperfusion and 30 s of reocclusion before full restoration of flow (post-C). Protocol 2 was identical except control and postconditioned hearts received the PI3-kinase inhibitor LY-294002 (protocol 2A) or the ERK1/2 antagonist PD-98059 (protocol 2B) throughout the first 25 min of reperfusion, whereas in protocol 3, myocardial samples were obtained during the early minutes of reflow from additional control, postconditioned, and nonischemic sham hearts for the assessment, by standard immunoblotting, of phospho-Akt (downstream target of PI3-kinase) and phospho-ERK. Protocols 1 and 2 corroborated that infarct size (delineated by tetrazolium staining and expressed as a percent of risk region) was reduced in postconditioned hearts vs. control hearts and also revealed that post-C-induced cardioprotection was maintained despite LY-294002 treatment but was abrogated by PD-98059. These pharmacological data were supported by protocol 3, which showed increased immunoreactivity of phospho-ERK but not phospho-Akt with post-C. Thus our results implicate the involvement of ERK1/2 rather than PI3-kinase/Akt in the reduction of infarct size achieved with post-C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1618-H1626
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4 58-4
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Extracellular signal-regulated kinase
  • Infarction
  • Injury
  • Ischemia
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase
  • Transduction


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