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Circ Res. 1991 Jun;68(6):1681-92.

Effect of increasing degrees of ischemic injury on myocardial oxidative metabolism early after reperfusion in isolated rat hearts.

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  • 1Cardiology Center, University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.


The present investigation studied the effect of increasing severities of ischemic injury on recovery of oxidative metabolism after reperfusion in isolated rat hearts perfused retrogradely with erythrocyte-containing medium. Hearts subjected to 60 minutes of low-flow ischemia (5% of control perfusion) exhibited delayed but sustained recovery of left ventricular pressure development during reperfusion and preservation of ultrastructure delineated with electron microscopy. Immediately after reperfusion, myocardial oxygen consumption returned to control values, well before left ventricular pressure development recovered. Early after reperfusion release of 14CO2 from [1-14C]palmitate was reduced (-53%, p less than 0.01). Conversely, release of 14CO2 from [U-14C]glucose was increased (+131%, p less than 0.05). After 60 minutes of reperfusion 14CO2 release had completely returned to normal for both labeled substrates. Pulse-labeling experiments indicated that during transient depression of [1-14C]palmitate oxidation more tracer was incorporated into myocardial lipid esters, primarily triglycerides. In contrast to hearts subjected to low-flow ischemia, hearts subjected to 60 minutes of no-flow ischemia exhibited poor recovery of contractile function during the reperfusion period. Electron microscopic examination of reperfused hearts showed advanced myocyte damage consistent with irreversible injury. Interestingly, myocardial oxygen consumption in this group also recovered to control values. The substrate pattern during the early reperfusion period was similar to that of hearts subjected to low-flow ischemia. After 120 minutes of no-flow ischemia, recovery of oxidative metabolism was virtually absent. The results indicate a pronounced dissociation between recovery of oxidative metabolism and of contractile function in reperfused myocardium. The oxidative metabolic rate was disproportionately high compared with contractile function, not only in reversibly "stunned" hearts, but also in severely damaged hearts exhibiting signs of irreversible injury.

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