, Volume 373, Issue 6, pp 415-427
Date: 06 Sep 2006

Protection against myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury by short-term diabetes: enhancement of VEGF formation, capillary density, and activation of cell survival signaling

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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.

Dr. Ma was on leave from the Sports Hospital, Sports Technical Institute of Guangdong, Guangzhou, China 510100. Dr. Al-Shabrawey is on leave from the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Medicine, Mansoura University, Mansoura, Egypt.