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J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg. 2002 Jun;123(6):1120-4.

Hyperglycemia exaggerates ischemia-reperfusion-induced cardiomyocyte injury: reversal with endothelin antagonism.

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Division of Cardiac Surgery, Toronto General Hospital, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.



We have previously demonstrated an importance of endothelin-1 in diabetic patients undergoing bypass surgery. Recent evidence suggests that cardiomyocytes might also produce endothelin-1, which might directly impair myocyte contractility by increasing intracellular calcium levels. Because hyperglycemia is a potent stimulus of endothelin-1 production, we hypothesized that increased production, action, or both of endothelin-1 might be a mediator of direct cardiomyocyte injury in diabetes. Therefore we studied the effects of endothelin receptor blockers (BQ-123 and bosentan) on hyperglycemia-induced endothelin-1 production and cellular injury after ischemia-reperfusion.


Using a human ventricular heart cell model of simulated ischemia-reperfusion, we studied the effects of normoglycemia (5 mmol/L, 48 hours) and hyperglycemia (25 mmol/L, 48 hours) on cellular injury and endothelin-1 production. Furthermore, the effects of selective endothelin-A and mixed endothelin-A/B receptor antagonism (with BQ-123 and bosentan, respectively) were evaluated.


Cellular injury, as assessed by means of trypan blue uptake, was higher in human ventricular heart cells subjected to hyperglycemia and simulated ischemia-reperfusion injury (P =.01); this effect was prevented with both BQ-123 and bosentan (P =.01). In addition, heart cells from the hyperglycemic group elaborated more endothelin-1 after ischemia-reperfusion (P =.02).


Endothelin-1 production and cellular injury were greater in human ventricular heart cells subjected to hyperglycemic conditions and simulated ischemia-reperfusion. These effects are mediated by endothelin-A receptors because both BQ-123 and bosentan exerted similar degrees of protection. Endothelin receptor blockade is a novel strategy to improve the resistance of the diabetic heart to cardioplegic arrest and reperfusion.

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