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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 May;300(5):H1669-77. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00272.2010. Epub 2011 Feb 25.

p38 MAPK-dependent small HSP27 and αB-crystallin phosphorylation in regulation of myocardial function following cardioplegic arrest.

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Cardiovascular Research Center, Rhode Island Hospital and Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USA.


We previously demonstrated that myocardial p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and heat shock protein 27 (HSP27) are phosphorylated following cardioplegic arrest in patients undergoing cardiac surgery and correlate with reduced cardiac function. The following studies were performed to determine whether inhibition of p38 MAPK and/or overexpression of nonphosphorylatable HSP27 improves cardiac function following cardioplegic arrest. Langendorff-perfused isolated rat hearts were subjected to 2 h of intermittent cold cardioplegia followed by 30 min of reperfusion. Hearts were treated with (CP+SB) or without (CP) the p38 MAPK inhibitor SB-203580 (5 μM) supplied in the cardioplegia. Sham-treated hearts served as controls. In separate experiments, isolated rat ventricular myocytes infected with either green fluorescent protein (GFP) or a nonphosphorylatable HSP27 mutant (3A-HSP27) were subjected to 3 h of cold hypoxic cardioplegia and simulated reperfusion (CP) followed by video microscopy and length change measurements. Baseline parameters of cardiac function were similar between groups [left ventricular developed pressure (LVDP), 119 ± 4.9 mmHg; positive and negative first derivatives of LV pressure (± dP/dt), 3,139 ± 245 and 2, 314 ± 110 mmHg/s]. CP resulted in reduced cardiac function (LVDP, 72.2 ± 5.8 mmHg; ± dP/dt, 2,076 ± 231 and -1,317 ± 156 mmHg/s) compared with baseline. Treatment with 5 μM SB-203580 significantly improved CP-induced cardiac function (LVDP, 101.9 ± 0 mmHg; ± dP/dt, 2,836 ± 163 and -2,108 ± 120 mmHg/s; P = 0.03, 0.01, and 0.04, CP+SB vs. CP). Inhibition of p38 MAPK significantly lowered CP-induced p38 MAPK, HSP27, and αB-crystallin (cryAB) phosphorylation. In vitro CP decreased myocyte length changes from 10.3 ± 1.5% (GFP) to 5.7 ± 0.8% (GFP+CP). Infection with 3A-HSP27 completely rescued CP-induced decreased myocyte contraction (11.1 ± 1.0%). However, infection with 3A-HSP27 did not block the endogenous HSP27 response. We conclude that inhibition of p38 MAPK and subsequent HSP27 and cryAB phosphorylation and/or overexpression of nonphosphorylatable HSP27 significantly improves cardiac performance following cardioplegic arrest. Modulation of HSP27 phosphorylation may improve myocardial stunning following cardiac surgery.

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