Preconditioning with a single short episode of global ischemia in the isolated working rat heart: Effect on structure, mechanical function, and energy metabolism for various durations of sustained global ischemia

Johannes A. Moolman, Sonia Genade, Rene Winterbach, Ian S. Harper, Keith Williams, Amanda Lochner

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Purpose Preconditioning in the setting of global ischemia, using functional recovery during reperfusion as the endpoint, has recently been demonstrated in the isolated perfused rat heart. It has been suggested that its beneficial actions have a metabolic basis. The isolated rat heart has not been fully characterized with respect to the metabolic, functional, and structural changes associated with this phenomenon in the setting of global ischemia. The purpose of this study was to determine (1) the time course of protection conferred by a single episode (5 minutes) of preconditioning; (2) changes in tissue high energy phosphates, lactate, and glycogen levels at different time intervals; and (3) morphological appearance of the heart at the end of ischemia as well as after reperfusion. Methods Isolated perfused working rat hearts were used. Preconditioning consisted of a single episode of 5 minutes of global ischemia and 15 minutes of reperfusion. Preconditioned and non-preconditioned hearts were subjected to global ischemia of 20-35 minutes duration. Functional recovery, energy metabolism (high energy phosphates, lactate, and glycogen), and structural appearance were studied at different stages. Results The functional recovery of the preconditioned hearts was significantly higher than in the corresponding nonpreconditioned group during reperfusion for all durations of ischemia longer than 25 minutes. The degree of protection observed was less than reported previously. A minor degree of energy sparing was reflected by differences in the rate of depletion of glycogen and accumulation of tissue lactate during the sustained episode of ischemia. Semiquantitative light microscopy evaluation revealed that ischemia-induced structural damage was less in the preconditioned hearts, both at the end of the sustained ischemic episode as well as after reperfusion. Conclusions A single episode of global ischemia successfully preconditions the isolated working rat heart. The protection elicited was demonstrated on a functional and structural level, and was accompanied by a small energy-sparing effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-115
Number of pages13
JournalCardiovascular Drugs and Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • energy metabolism
  • global ischemia
  • ischemic preconditioning
  • light microscopy
  • ultrastructure

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