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Eur J Vasc Endovasc Surg. 2013 Aug;46(2):242-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ejvs.2013.05.006. Epub 2013 Jun 7.

Addition of vardenafil into storage solution protects the endothelium in a hypoxia-reoxygenation model.

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Department of Cardiac Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.



Based upon the well known protective effect of intracellular cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) accumulation, we tested the hypothesis that storage solution enriched with optimal concentration of the phosphodiestherase-5 inhibitor vardenafil could provide better protection of vascular grafts against reperfusion injury after long-term cold ischaemic storage.


Isolated thoracic aorta obtained from rats underwent 24-h cold ischaemic preservation in physiological saline or vardenafil (10(-11) M)-supplemented saline solution. Reperfusion injury was simulated by hypochlorite (200 μM) exposure for 30 minutes. Endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation was assessed, and histopathological and molecular-biological examination of the aortic tissue were performed.


Compared with the control group, the saline group showed significantly attenuated endothelium-dependent maximal relaxation (Rmax) to acetylcholine after hypoxia-reoxygenation, which was significantly improved by vardenafil supplementation (Rmax control: 98 ± 1%; saline: 48 ± 6%; vardenafil: 75 ± 4%; p < .05). Vardenafil treatment significantly reduced DNA strand breaks (control: 10.6 ± 6.2%; saline: 72.5 ± 4.0%; vardenafil: 14.2 ± 5.2%; p < .05) and increased cGMP score in the aortic wall (control: 8.2 ± 0.6; saline: 4.5 ± 0.3; vardenafil: 6.7 ± 0.6; p < .05).


Our results support the view that impairment of intracellular cGMP signalling plays a role in the pathogenesis of the endothelial dysfunction induced by cold storage warm reperfusion, which can be effectively reversed by pharmacological phosphodiesterase-5 inhibition.


Endothelium; Ischaemia-reperfusion injury; Storage; Vardenafil; cGMP

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