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Hypertension. 2004 Jan;43(1):109-16. Epub 2003 Dec 8.

Adrenomedullin protects against myocardial apoptosis after ischemia/reperfusion through activation of Akt-GSK signaling.

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  • 1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC 29425-2211, USA.


Adrenomedullin (AM) is a potent vasoactive peptide and plays an important role in cardiovascular function. In this study, we delivered the AM gene locally into the heart, using a catheter-based technique to investigate the signaling mechanism mediated by AM in protection against cardiomyocyte apoptosis induced by acute ischemia/reperfusion. After adenovirus-mediated gene delivery, highly efficient and specific expression of luciferase, green fluorescent protein, or recombinant human AM was identified in the left ventricle. Delivery of the AM gene 5 days before ischemia/reperfusion attenuated myocardial apoptosis identified by in situ dUTP nick-end labeling and DNA laddering, and the effect was blocked by the AM antagonist human calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP 8 to 37). AM gene transfer increased phosphorylation of Akt and glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3beta) but reduced GSK-3beta and caspase-3 activities in the heart. The effects of AM on GSK-3beta and caspase-3 activities were blocked by CGRP (8-37) and by adenovirus containing dominant-negative Akt (DN-Akt). Furthermore, in cultured cardiomyocytes, AM also attenuated apoptosis induced by hypoxia/reoxygenation, which was accompanied by increased phospho-GSK-3beta but reduced GSK-3 and caspase-3 activities. GSK-3 and caspase-3 activities were both blocked by Ad.DN-Akt and lithium, whereas only caspase-3 was inhibited by its inhibitor Z-VAD. The effects of AM on anti-apoptosis and promoting cell viability were blocked by DN-Akt but not by constitutively active Akt, lithium, or Z-VAD. These results indicate that AM protects against cardiomyocyte apoptosis induced by ischemia/reperfusion injury through the Akt-GSK-caspase signaling pathway.

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