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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2009 Jul;1787(7):794-801. doi: 10.1016/j.bbabio.2009.03.013. Epub 2009 Mar 26.

Postconditioning induces an anti-apoptotic effect and preserves mitochondrial integrity in isolated rat hearts.

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Department of Clinical and Biological Sciences, University of Turin, Italy.

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  • Biochim Biophys Acta. 2015 Apr-May;1847(4-5):493-4.


Postconditioning (PostC) may limit mitochondrial damage and apoptotic signaling. We studied markers of apoptosis and mitochondrial protection in isolated rat hearts, which underwent a) perfusion without ischemia (Sham), b) 30-min ischemia (I) plus 2-hour reperfusion (R), or c) PostC protocol (5 intermittent cycles of 10-s reperfusion and 10-s ischemia immediately after the 30-min ischemia). Markers were studied in cytosolic (CF) and/or mitochondrial (MF) fractions. In CF, while pro-apoptotic factors (cytochrome c and caspase-3) were reduced, the anti-apoptotic markers (Bcl-2 and Pim-1) were increased by PostC, compared to the I/R group. Accordingly, phospho-GSK-3beta and Bcl-2 levels increased in mitochondria of PostC group. Moreover, I/R reduced the level of mitochondrial structural protein (HSP-60) in MF and increased in CF, thus suggesting mitochondrial damage and HSP-60 release in cytosol, which were prevented by PostC. Electron microscopy confirmed that I/R markedly damaged cristae and mitochondrial membranes; damage was markedly reduced by PostC. Finally, total connexin-43 (Cx43) levels were reduced in the CF of the I/R group, whereas phospho-Cx43 level resulted in higher levels in the MF of the I/R group than the Sham group. PostC limited the I/R-induced increase of mitochondrial phospho-Cx43. Data suggest that PostC i) increases the levels of anti-apoptotic markers, including the cardioprotective kinase Pim-1, ii) decreases the pro-apoptotic markers, e.g. cytochrome c, iii) preserves the mitochondrial structure, and iv) limits the migration of phospho-Cx43 to mitochondria.

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