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Circ Res. 2001 Dec 7;89(12):1191-8.

Myocardial protection by insulin at reperfusion requires early administration and is mediated via Akt and p70s6 kinase cell-survival signaling.

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Department of Medical Physiology, Institute of Medical Biology, University of Tromsø, Norway.


The "metabolic cocktail" comprising glucose-insulin-potassium administrated at reperfusion reduces infarct size in the in vivo rat heart. We propose that insulin is the major component mediating this protection and acts via Akt prosurvival signaling. This hypothesis was studied in isolated perfused rat hearts (measuring infarct size to area of risk [%]) subjected to 35 minutes regional myocardial ischemia and 2 hours reperfusion. Insulin administered at the onset of reperfusion attenuated infarct size by >/=45% versus control hearts (P<0.001). Insulin-mediated cardioprotection was found to be independent of the presence of glucose at reperfusion. Moreover, the cell survival benefit of insulin is temporally dependent, in that insulin administration from the onset of reperfusion and maintained for either 15 minutes or for the duration of reperfusion reduced infarct size. In contrast, protection was abrogated if insulin administration was delayed until 15 minutes into reperfusion. Pharmacological inhibition of both upstream and downstream signals in the Akt prosurvival pathway abolished the cardioprotective effects of insulin. Here coadministration of insulin with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor lavendustin A, the phosphatidylinositol3-kinase (PI3-kinase) inhibitor wortmannin, and mTOR/p70s6 kinase inhibitor rapamycin abolished cardioprotection. Steady-state levels of activated/phosphorylated Akt correlated with insulin administration. Finally, downstream prosurvival targets of Akt including p70s6 kinase and BAD were modulated by insulin. In conclusion, insulin administration at reperfusion reduces myocardial infarction, is dependent on early administration during reperfusion, and is mediated via Akt and p70s6 kinase dependent signaling pathway. Moreover, BAD is maintained in its inert phosphorylated state in response to insulin therapy.

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