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Mol Cell Biochem. 1999 Jun;196(1-2):13-21.

Regulation of cardiomyocyte apoptosis in ischemic reperfused mouse heart by glutathione peroxidase.

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Department of Surgery, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington 06030-1110, USA.


Apoptosis, a genetically controlled programmed cell death, has been found to play a role in ischemic reperfusion injury in several animal species including rats and rabbits. To examine whether this is also true for other animals, an isolated perfused mouse heart was subjected to 30 min of ischemia followed by 2 h of reperfusion. Experiments were terminated before ischemia (baseline), after ischemia, and at 30, 60, 90 and 120 min of reperfusion. At the end of each experiment, hearts were processed for the evaluation of apoptosis and DNA laddering. The in situ end labeling (ISEL) technique was used to detect apoptotic cardiomyocyte nuclei while DNA laddering was evaluated by subjecting the DNA obtained from the cardiomyocytes to 1.8% agarose gel electrophoresis followed by photographing under UV illumination. The results of our study revealed that apoptotic cells appear only after 60 min of reperfusion as demonstrated by the intense fluorescence of the immunostained genomic DNA when observed under fluorescence microscopy. None of the ischemic hearts showed any evidence of apoptosis. These results were corroborated with the findings of DNA fragmentation showing increased ladders of DNA bands in the same reperfused hearts representing integer multiples of the internucleosomal DNA length (about 180 bp). Since our previous studies showed a role of glutathione peroxidase (GSHPx) in apoptotic cell death, we performed identical experiments using isolated hearts from GSHPx-1 knockout mice and transgenic mice overexpressing GSHPx-1. GSHPx-1 knockout mice showed evidence of apoptotic cell death even after 30 min of reperfusion. Significant number of apoptotic cells were found in the cardiomyocytes as compared to non-transgenic control animals. To the contrary, very few apoptotic cells were found in the hearts of the transgenic mice overexpressing GSHPx-1. Hearts of GSHPx-1 knockout mice were more susceptible to ischemia/reperfusion injury while transgenic mice overexpressing GSHPx-1 were less susceptible to ischemia reperfusion injury compared to non-transgenic control animals. The results of this study clearly demonstrate a role of GSHPx in ischemia/reperfusion-induced apoptosis in mouse heart.

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