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Nat Rev Cardiol. 2016 Apr;13(4):193-209. doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2016.5. Epub 2016 Feb 4.

Ischaemic conditioning and reperfusion injury.

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Cardiovascular and Metabolic Disorders Program, Duke-National University of Singapore, Singapore 169857, Singapore.
The Hatter Cardiovascular Institute, University College London, 67 Chenies Mews, London WC1E 6HX, UK.


The 30-year anniversary of the discovery of 'ischaemic preconditioning' is in 2016. This endogenous phenomenon can paradoxically protect the heart from acute myocardial infarction by subjecting it to one or more brief cycles of ischaemia and reperfusion. Apart from complete reperfusion, this method is the most powerful intervention known for reducing infarct size. The concept of ischaemic preconditioning has evolved into 'ischaemic conditioning', a term that encompasses a number of related endogenous cardioprotective strategies, applied either directly to the heart (ischaemic preconditioning or postconditioning) or from afar, for example a limb (remote ischaemic preconditioning, perconditioning, or postconditioning). Investigations of signalling pathways underlying ischaemic conditioning have identified a number of therapeutic targets for pharmacological manipulation. Over the past 3 decades, a number of ischaemic and pharmacological cardioprotection strategies, discovered in experimental studies, have been examined in the clinical setting of acute myocardial infarction and CABG surgery. The results from many of the studies have been disappointing, and no effective cardioprotective therapy is currently used in clinical practice. Several large, multicentre, randomized, controlled clinical trials on cardioprotection have highlighted the challenges of translating ischaemic conditioning and pharmacological cardioprotection strategies into patient benefit. However, a number of cardioprotective therapies have shown promising results in reducing infarct size and improving clinical outcomes in patients with ischaemic heart disease.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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