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Cardiovasc Res. 2000 Aug 18;47(3):446-56.

Status of myocardial antioxidants in ischemia-reperfusion injury.

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Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, St. Boniface General Hospital Research Centre, 351 Tache Ave., Manitoba, R2H 2A6, Winnipeg, Canada.



Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion represents a clinically relevant problem associated with thrombolysis, angioplasty and coronary bypass surgery. Injury of myocardium due to ischemia-reperfusion includes cardiac contractile dysfunction, arrhythmias as well as irreversible myocyte damage. These changes are considered to be the consequence of imbalance between the formation of oxidants and the availability of endogenous antioxidants in the heart.


An increase in the formation of reactive oxygen species during ischemia-reperfusion and the adverse effects of oxyradicals on myocardium have now been well established by both direct and indirect measurements. Although several experimental studies as well as clinical trials have demonstrated the cardioprotective effects of antioxidants, some studies have failed to substantiate the results. Nonetheless, it is becoming evident that some of the endogenous antioxidants such as glutathione peroxidase, superoxide dismutase, and catalase act as a primary defense mechanism whereas the others including vitamin E may play a secondary role for attenuating the ischemia-reperfusion injury. The importance of various endogenous antioxidants in suppressing oxidative stress is evident from the depression in their activities and the inhibition of cardiac alterations which they produce during ischemia-reperfusion injury. The effects of an antioxidant thiol containing compound, N-acetylcysteine, and ischemic preconditioning were shown to be similar in preventing changes in the ischemic-reperfused hearts.


The available evidence support the role of oxidative stress in ischemia-reperfusion injury and emphasize the importance of antioxidant mechanisms in cardioprotection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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