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Expert Opin Emerg Drugs. 2007 Sep;12(3):367-88.

Pharmacologic therapeutics for cardiac reperfusion injury.

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  • 1Medical College of Wisconsin, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 8701 Watertown Plank Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.


Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in industrial societies, with myocardial infarction as the primary assassin. Pharmacologic agents, including the myocardial cell membrane receptor agonists adenosine, bradykinin/angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, opioids and erythropoietin or the mixed cell membrane and intracellular agonists, glucose insulin potassium, and volatile anesthetics, either clinically or experimentally reduce the extent of myocardial injury when administered just prior to reperfusion. Agents that specifically target proteins, transcription factors or ion channels, including PKC agonists/antagonists, PPAR, Phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors, 3-Hydroxy-3-methyl glutaryl coenzyme A reductase and the ATP-dependent potassium channel are also promising. However, no agent has been specifically approved to reduce reperfusion injury clinically. In this review, we will discuss the advantages and limitations of agents to combat reperfusion injury, their market development status and findings reported in both clinical and preclinical studies. The molecular pathways activated by these agents that preserve myocardium from reperfusion injury, which appear to commonly involve glycogen synthase kinase 3beta and mitochondrial permeability transition pore inhibition, are also described.

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