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Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1997 Apr;75(4):309-15.

Pharmacology of ATP-sensitive potassium channel (KATP) openers in models of myocardial ischemia and reperfusion.

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  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Biochemistry, Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharmaceutical Research Institute, Princeton, NJ 08543-4000, USA.


Recently, much interest has been focused on the pharmacology of ATP-sensitive potassium channels (KATP) in myocardial ischemia. KATP are thought to be involved with the mechanism of myocardial preconditioning, therefore further increasing the level of interest in these channels. Pharmacologic KATP openers have been shown by numerous investigators to protect ischemic-reperfused myocardium. These agents reduce necrosis, improve postischemic functional recovery, and inhibit contracture formation. These protective effects are abolished by KATP blockers. The cardioprotective effects of KATP openers are independent of vasodilator and cardiodepressant effects, but seem to be mediated by energy conservation (reduced ATP hydrolysis). Action potential shortening is also not correlated with cardioprotection, suggesting a role for intracellular (mitochondrial) KATP. Agents have been developed that retain the glyburide-reversible cardioprotective effects of cromakalim but are devoid of vasodilator and action potential shortening activity. Currently, studies are underway to determine the mechanism of cardioprotection. The potential role of mitochondrial KATP in the pathogenesis of ischemia is discussed in this review article.

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