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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2004 Dec 10;325(2):605-11.

Temporal and spatial characteristics of apoptosis in the infarcted rat heart.

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Division of Cardiovascular Diseases, Department of Medicine, University of Tennessee, Health Science Center, Memphis, TN, USA.


Following myocardial infarction (MI), tissue repair/remodeling occurs in both the infarcted and noninfarcted myocardium. Apoptosis has been demonstrated to play an important role in these processes. In the present study, we sought to determine the temporal and spatial characteristics of apoptosis in the infarcted heart as well as to identify cells undergoing programmed cell death at different stages of repair/remodeling and their relationship to the expression of anti-/pro-apoptotic genes following MI. Our study has shown that apoptosis appears in both infarcted and noninfarcted myocardium, and cells undergoing apoptosis depend on the stage of healing. In the infarcted myocardium, apoptosis contributes to the loss of cardiomyocytes during the early stage of healing, elimination of inflammatory cells during the inflammatory phase of healing, and reduction of myofibroblasts with the fibrogenic phase of repair in the infarcted myocardium. In noninfarcted myocardium, cardiomyocyte apoptosis was observed from day 3 to 28 postMI. Cardiac apoptosis following MI is correlated with the increase of Bax expression.

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