, Volume 94, Issue 3, pp 188-198

Myocardial protection by insulin is dependent on phospatidylinositol 3-kinase but not protein kinase C or KATP channels in the isolated rabbit heart

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Because tyrosine kinase blockade prevents protection by ischemic preconditioning (PC) in several species, activation of tyrosine kinase appears to be critical for cardioprotection. The tyrosine kinase's identity, however, is unknown. The present study tested whether activation of a receptor tyrosine kinase, the insulin receptor, could mimic PC and if the mechanism of protection was similar to that of PC. Isolated rabbit hearts were subjected to 30 min of regional ischemia and 2 h of reperfusion. Infarct size was determined by triphenyltetrazolium staining and expressed as a percentage of the area at risk. Infarct size in control hearts was 32.6 ± 2.3 %. A 5-min infusion of insulin (5 mU/ml) followed by a 10-min washout period prior to ischemia significantly reduced infarction to 14.7 ± 2.1 % (P < 0.05). The tyrosine kinase inhibitor genistein (50 μM) given around the insulin infusion blocked protection (28.9 ± 2.8 %). However, when present during the onset of ischemia, genistein had no effect on protection triggered by insulin (14.0 ± 2.4 %; P < 0.05). Inhibition of either PKC by polymyxin B (50 μM) or KATP channels by 5-hydroxydecanoate (100 μM) also failed to prevent protection by insulin (17.5 ± 3.2 % and 17.6 ± 3.0 %, respectively). However, the reduction in infarct size by insulin was significantly attenuated by wortmannin (100 nM), a selective inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (P13K, 28.3 ± 2.2 %). Insulin was still able to protect the heart when given only during the reperfusion period (13.2 ± 3.4 %). PC reduced infarction to 12.8 ± 2.0 % (P < 0.05). In conclusion, activation of the insulin receptor reduces infarct size in the rabbit heart even when instituted upon reperfusion. However, the mechanism of protection is quite different from that of PC and involves activation of P13K but not PKC or KATP channels.

Received: 12 November 1998, Returned for revision: 25 November 1998, Revision received: 8 December 1998, Accepted: 10 December 1998