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Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2011 May 1;236(5):598-603. doi: 10.1258/ebm.2011.011026. Epub 2011 Apr 26.

Vascular rhexis in mice subjected to non-sustained myocardial ischemia and its therapeutic implications.

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Department of Medicine, Cardiovascular Research Institute, University of Vermont, Colchester, 05446, USA.


We previously described the death of vascular cells (vascular rhexis) following persistent coronary occlusion. The present study was designed to determine whether non-sustained ischemia can initiate vascular rhexis and if so, whether relatively brief ischemic insults are sufficient. C57BL6 mice were subjected to coronary ligation for 15 min or 3 h followed by reperfusion. Soluble fractions of left ventricular (LV) homogenates were obtained 48 h after the onset of transitory coronary occlusion. They were assayed by Western blotting for quantification of alpha smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) and smooth muscle myosin heavy chain (SM-MHC) that we have shown reflect vascular rhexis delineated immunohistochemically. Non-sustained coronary occlusion for 3 h initiated vascular rhexis evident 45 h after reperfusion, but not earlier, as judged from Western blotting of α-SMA and SM-MHC. The number of small- and medium-sized vessels in the previously ischemic zones was reduced at 45 h after reperfusion as well. Thus, vascular rhexis occurs after ischemia as brief as 3 h but evolves slowly and is not evident for 45 h. The delayed disintegration of the vasculature makes it likely that it can be ameliorated by interventions initiated after non-sustained ischemia, rendering it an attractive target for diminution of phenomena such as late negative LV remodeling, and 'no reflow.'

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