Variation of NDRG2 and c-Myc expression in rat heart during the acute stage of ischemia/reperfusion injury
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N-Myc downstream regulated gene 2 (NDRG2), a Myc-repressed gene, is highly expressed in heart tissue. NDRG2 increases in response to hypoxia-induced stress and is involved in hypoxia-induced radioresistance. However, little is known about the expression changes and possible roles of NDRG2 in the heart under hypoxia condition. Here, the authors show that NDRG2, mainly localized in cardiomyocyte cytoplasm, was significantly reduced in myocardial tissue after acute ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. Meanwhile, c-Myc was up-regulated following acute I/R injury, and the expression of c-Myc was significantly inversely correlated with that of NDRG2. In addition, overexpression of c-Myc in primary cultured cardiomyocyte repressed NDRG2 expression. Furthermore, the increase of cardiomyocyte apoptosis was correlated with the decrease of NDRG2 protein during the acute phase of reperfusion. These data suggested for the first time that I/R injury-induced up-regulation of pro-apoptotic c-Myc expression may contribute to the down-regulation of anti-apoptotic NDRG2. This stress response might be involved in the novel mechanism of myocardial apoptosis induced by I/R injury in rat.