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Life Sci. 2005 Jul 29;77(11):1226-48.

Is the sarcolemmal or mitochondrial K(ATP) channel activation important in the antiarrhythmic and cardioprotective effects during acute ischemia/reperfusion in the intact anesthetized rabbit model?

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Kasturba Medical College, Manipal, Karnataka-576 119, India.


The relative contributions of cardiomyocyte sarcolemmal ATP-sensitive K(+) (K(ATP)) and mitochondrial K(ATP) channels in the cardioprotection and antiarrhythmic activity induced by K(ATP) channel openers remain obscure, though the mitochondrial K(ATP) channels have been proposed to be involved as a subcellular mediator in cardioprotection afforded by ischemic preconditioning. In the present study, we sought to investigate the effects of administration of ATP-sensitive K(+) channel (K(ATP)) openers (nicorandil and minoxidil), a specific mitochondrial K(ATP) channel blocker (5-hydroxydecanoate (5-HD)) and a specific sarcolemmal K(ATP) channel blocker (HMR 1883; (1-[5-[2-(5-chloro-o-anisamido)ethyl]-2-methoxyphenyl]sulfonyl-3-methylthiourea) prior to coronary occlusion as well as prior to post-ischemic reperfusion on survival rate, ischemia-induced and reperfusion-induced arrhythmias and myocardial infarct size in anesthetized albino rabbits. The thorax was opened in the left 4th intercostal space and after pericardiotomy the heart was exposed. In Group I (n=88), occlusion of the left main coronary artery and hence, myocardial ischemia-induced arrhythmias was achieved by tightening a previously placed loose silk ligature for 30 min. In Group II (n=206), arrhythmias were induced by reperfusion following a 20-min ligation of the left main coronary artery. Both in Group I and Group II, intravenous (i.v.) administration of nicorandil (0.47 mg/kg), minoxidil (0.5 mg/kg), HMR 1883 (3 mg/kg)/nicorandil and HMR 1883 (3 mg/kg)/minoxidil before coronary artery occlusion increased survival rate (86%, 75%, 75% and 86% vs. 55% in the control subgroup in Group I; 75%, 67%, 67% and 75% vs. 46% in the control subgroup in Group II), significantly decreased the incidence and severity of life-threatening arrhythmias. In Group II, i.v. administration of nicorandil and minoxidil before coronary artery occlusion significantly decreased myocardial infarct size. However, i.v. administration of nicorandil or minoxidil before reperfusion did neither increase survival rate nor confer any antiarrhythmic or cardioprotective effects. The antiarrhythmic and cardioprotective effects of both nicorandil and minoxidil were abolished by pretreating the rabbits with 5-HD (5 mg/kg, i.v. bolus), a selective mitochondrial K(ATP) channel blocker but not by HMR 1883 (3 mg/kg). In the present study, higher levels of malondialdehyde (MDA) and lower levels of reduced glutathione (GSH) and superoxide dismutase (SOD) in necrotic zone of myocardium in all the 16 subgroups in Group II suggest little anti-free radical property of nicorandil and minoxidil. We conclude that intervention by intravenous administration of nicorandil and minoxidil (through the selective activation of mitochondrial K(ATP) channels) increased survival rate and exhibited antiarrhythmic and cardioprotective effects during coronary occlusion and reperfusion in anesthetized rabbits when administered prior to coronary occlusion. The cardiomyocyte mitochondrial K(ATP) channel may be a pharmacologically modulable target of cardioprotection and antiarrhythmic activity.

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