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Cardiovasc Drugs Ther. 1998 Sep;12(4):365-73.

Time window for the contribution of the delta-opioid receptor to cardioprotection by ischemic preconditioning in the rat heart.

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  • 1Second Department of Internal Medicine, Sapporo Medical University School of Medicine, Japan.


The present study aimed to examine (1) whether the role of the opioid receptor in ischemic preconditioning (PC) is consistent regardless of the duration of ischemic insult and (2) which opioid receptor subtype contributes to PC. In the first series of experiments, the effects of PC, a nonselective opioid receptor antagonist (naloxone), and their combination on the infarct size after various durations of ischemia were assessed. In anesthetized, open-chest rats, the coronary artery was occluded for 20, 30, or 40 minutes to induce infarction and was reperfused for 3 hours, PC was performed with two cycles of 5-minute ischemia followed by 5-minute reperfusion before the sustained ischemia. At 25 minutes before the ischemia, naloxone was injected alone or in combination with subsequent PC. Infarct size was determined by tetrazolium staining and was expressed as a percentage of the risk area size (%IS/RA). In the second series of experiments, the effects of a delta-receptor-selective antagonist, naltrindole (NTI), and a kappa-receptor selective antagonist, nor-binaltrophimine (nor-BNI), on PC before 30-minute coronary occlusion were assessed. In untreated controls, %IS/RA was 53.1 +/- 3.2 after 20 minutes, 67.9 +/- 3.9 after 30 minutes, and 87.8 +/- 2.0 after 40 minutes of ischemia, respectively. PC significantly reduced %IS/RA after 20, 30, and 40 minutes of ischemia to 3.1 +/- 0.8, 12.8 +/- 1.1, and 42.1 +/- 4.3, respectively (P < 0.05 vs. each control). Naloxone (6 mg/kg) partially attenuated the protection afforded by PC when the sustained ischemia was 30 minutes (%IS/RA = 27.4 +/- 4.5; P < 0.05 vs. PC), but this inhibitory effect of naloxone was not detected when the duration of the ischemia was 20 or 40 minutes. NTI (10 mg/kg) also attenuated infarct size limitation by PC after 30 minutes of ischemia (%IS/RA = 25.6 +/- 3.7), but nor-BNI (10 mg/kg) failed to modify infarct size limitation by PC (%IS/RA = 13.3 +/- 3.2). The present results suggest that activation of the opioid delta-receptor partly contributes to preconditioning against infarction in the rat and that there may be a time window (at around 30 minutes after the onset of ischemia) for this opioid receptor-mediated protective mechanism.

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