Basic Research in Cardiology

, Volume 91, Issue 6, pp 458–467 | Cite as

Mast cell degranulation does not contribute to ischemic preconditioning in isolated rabbit hearts

  • P. Wang
  • J. M. Downey
  • M. V. Cohen
Original Contribution


Preconditioning the heart with a short period of ischemia makes it resistant to infarction from a subsequent ischemic insult. We have proposed that preconditioning is triggered by the release of endogenous substances including adenosine which activate protein kinase C through receptormediated cell signaling pathways. However, it has also been proposed that the initial brief ischemia may result in mast cell degranulation without significant myocardial damage, making it less likely that the toxic granule contents could be released to irreversibly damage vulnerable myocardial cells during the subsequent prolonged ischemia. To study the role of mast cells in ischemic preconditioning (PC) isolated rabbit hearts were subjected to 30 min of regional ischemia followed by 120 min of reperfusion. Infarct size was measured with triphenyltetrazolium chloride. In control hearts infarction was 31.9±2.6% of the risk zone. Preconditioning with 5 min of global ischemia and 10 min of reperfusion reduced infarct size to 5.6±6.1% (p<0.01). When disodium cromoglycate (DSCG) (10 μM), a mast cell stabilizer, was infused shortly before the long ischemia it did protect the heart (12.8±2.9% infarction, p<0.01 vs control) which supports the mast cell theory. However, a mast cell degranulating agent, compound 48/80 (24 mg/L), added to the perfusate prior to the 30 min ischemic period could not mimic PC (39.7±5.6% infarction). Mast cell granules are rich in histamine, and the latter was assayed in myocardium by immunoassay as a marker of intact granules. In homogenized left ventricle from normal rabbit hearts and those following a standard PC protocol of 5-min global ischemia/10-min reperfusion, histamine contents were 9.3±1.4 and 8.9±1.4 ng/g wet tissue, respectively. Compound 48/80 reduced histamine levels to 2.9±0.6 ng/g (p<0.05 vs control). Although baseline histamine contents were 10-fold higher in rats, PC also had no effect, but compound 48/80 reduced content by 91%. Therefore, histamine tissue content and presumably mast cell granules were unaffected by a PC protocol which successfully protected ischemic myocardium, while pharmacological myocardial histamine depletion was not associated with protection. Hence, mast cells do not appear to be important in ischemic preconditioning. Although a mast cell stabilizer such as DSCG can protect ischemic myocardium, it may do so by one of its other properties, e.g., membrane stabilization.

Key words

Compound 48/80 disodium cromoglycate histamine mast cell degranulation 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. Wang
    • 1
  • J. M. Downey
    • 1
  • M. V. Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Physiology MSB 3050University of South Alabama College of MedicineMobileUSA

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