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Exp Cell Res. 2011 Dec 10;317(20):2938-49. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2011.09.011. Epub 2011 Oct 2.

A novel cardioprotective p38-MAPK/mTOR pathway.

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Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, University of Santiago de Compostela, 15705 Santiago de Compostela, Spain.


Despite intensive study, the mechanisms regulating activation of mTOR and the consequences of that activation in the ischemic heart remain unclear. This is particularly true for the setting of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. In a mouse model of I/R injury, we observed robust mTOR activation, and its inhibition by rapamycin increased injury. Consistent with the in-vivo findings, mTOR activation was also protective in isolated cardiomyocytes exposed to two models of I/R. Moreover, we identify a novel oxidant stress-activated pathway regulating mTOR that is critically dependent on p38-MAPK and Akt. This novel p38-regulated pathway signals downstream through REDD1, Tsc2, and 14-3-3 proteins to activate mTOR and is independent of AMPK. The protective role of p38/Akt and mTOR following oxidant stress is a general phenomenon since we observed it in a wide variety of cell types. Thus we have identified a novel protective pathway in the cardiomyocyte involving p38-mediated mTOR activation. Furthermore, the p38-dependent protective pathway might be able to be selectively modulated to enhance cardio-protection while not interfering with the inhibition of the better-known detrimental p38-dependent pathways.

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