The aims of this study were to determine effects of diabetes duration on myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury and test whether time-dependent differences in sensitivity of the streptozotocin diabetic rat heart to I/R are related to differences in vascular density, levels of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) or endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expression, NO formation, activation of Akt, and/or oxidative stress. After 2 or 6 weeks of streptozotocin-induced diabetes, I/R injury was induced by occlusion (30 min) and reperfusion of the left descending coronary artery. After 2 weeks of diabetes, infarct size and cleavage of caspase-3, a proapoptosis signal, were decreased as compared with normoglycemic controls or rats that had been diabetic for 6 weeks, whereas capillary density and levels of VEGF and eNOS protein and cardiac NOx levels were all increased. Phosphorylation of Akt, a prosurvival signal, was also significantly increased after 2 weeks of diabetes. Cardiac lipid peroxidation was comparable to controls after 2 weeks of diabetes, whereas levels of nitrotyrosine, a peroxynitrite biomarker, were reduced. After 6 weeks of diabetes, lipid peroxidation was increased and levels of VEGF and plasma NO were reduced as compared with controls or rats diabetic for 2 weeks. Our results indicate endogenous cardioprotective mechanisms become transiently activated in this early stage of diabetes and that this may protect the heart from I/R injury through enhancement of VEGF and eNOS expression, NO formation, activation of cell survival signals, and decreased oxidative stress.
- Oxidative stress
- Vascular endothelial growth factor