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Am Heart J. 1988 Feb;115(2):307-12.

Assessment of myocardial oxidative stress in patients after myocardial revascularization.

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Section of Pathology, Institute of Cardiology, Buenos Aires, Argentina.


A homogeneous group of six patients, who underwent coronary artery bypass surgery, was studied to determine the presence of oxidative stress caused by oxygen-derived free radicals and its relationship with reperfusion cell damage. Biopsies were performed before ischemia and 10 minutes after reperfusion. The samples were assayed for hydroperoxide-initiated chemiluminescence and histochemical succinic dehydrogenase activity; the specimens were also studied by electron microscopy. The preischemic biopsy specimens showed chemiluminescence of 40 +/- 2 (cpm/mg protein) x 10(3), normal succinic dehydrogenase activity (grade 4), and generally preserved ultrastructure (necrotic/normal cells 5/100). However, the reperfusion biopsy specimens showed an increase in chemiluminescence to 91 +/- 19 (cpm/mg protein) x 10(3) (p less than 0.025), a partial loss of enzymatic activity (grade 2.6), and ultrastructural changes characterized by mitochondrial swelling and focal myofibrillar disorganization (necrotic/normal cells: 15/100; p less than 0.001). These observations seem to indicate the presence of oxidative stress during reoxygenation, a situation that may play a major role in the genesis of reperfusion injury. It appears to be the first observation relating free radical-induced oxidative stress to reperfusion injury in humans.

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