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Circ Res. 1990 Sep;67(3):694-706.

Disruption of microtubules as an early sign of irreversible ischemic injury. Immunohistochemical study of in situ canine hearts.

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  • 1First Department of Medicine, Osaka University Medical School, Japan.


Structural disruption of the cytoskeleton may be involved in irreversible ischemic injury. In the present study, ischemic changes in microtubules during various periods of myocardial ischemia were studied with an immunohistochemical technique in open-chest dogs. In intact myocardium, microtubules were stained as a filamentous network throughout cytoplasm and a circular network around the nucleus, which disappeared with colchicine treatment. In brief ischemia of less than 15 minutes, microtubule patterns were unaltered. After 20 minutes, however, characteristic microtubule stains were partly lost in patchy lesions. As an increase in ischemic period, lesions of loss of microtubule stains were increased in number and size. After 120 minutes of reperfusion following 60 minutes of ischemia, the lesions with intact actin filaments but with disrupted microtubules were replaced by the severely injured cells in which the regular myofibrillar registrations were distinctly disrupted. After 24 hours of reperfusion following 40 minutes of occlusion of the left circumflex artery, the percent area of disrupted microtubules at 40 minutes of ischemia was replaced by that of irreversibly injured lesions in the posterior papillary muscle. These results indicate that disruption of microtubules during ischemia heralds irreversible ischemic injury. However, in in vitro study, the myocardium incubated in hypoxic solution for 60-120 minutes demonstrated earlier disruption of the microtubules than the vinculin. Electron microscopic study also showed minimal irreversible changes in the lesions with disrupted microtubules. Thus, taken together, we conclude that microtubules that support the structural integration of myofibrils and other organelles are disrupted in severe myocardial ischemia before the irreversible injury, promoting the irreversible change after reperfusion.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

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