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Nitric oxide protects the heart from ischemia-induced apoptosis and mitochondrial damage via protein kinase G mediated blockage of permeability transition and cytochrome c release
1 Institute for Biomedical Research, Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania
2 Department of Biochemistry, Kaunas University of Medicine, Kaunas, Lithuania
3 Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
Journal of Biomedical Science 2009, 16:70 doi:10.1186/1423-0127-16-70Published: 11 August 2009
Heart ischemia can rapidly induce apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction via mitochondrial permeability transition-induced cytochrome c release. We tested whether nitric oxide (NO) can block this damage in isolated rat heart, and, if so, by what mechanisms.
Hearts were perfused with 50 μM DETA/NO (NO donor), then subjected to 30 min stop-flow ischemia or ischemia/reperfusion. Isolated heart mitochondria were used to measure the rate of mitochondrial oxygen consumption and membrane potential using oxygen and tetraphenylphosphonium-selective electrodes. Mitochondrial and cytosolic cytochrome c levels were measured spectrophotometrically and by ELISA. The calcium retention capacity of isolated mitochondria was measured using the fluorescent dye Calcium Green-5N. Apoptosis and necrosis were evaluated by measuring the activity of caspase-3 in cytosolic extracts and the activity of lactate dehydrogenase in perfusate, respectively.
30 min ischemia caused release of mitochondrial cytochrome c to the cytoplasm, inhibition of the mitochondrial respiratory chain, and stimulation of mitochondrial proton permeability. 3 min perfusion with 50 μM DETA/NO of hearts prior to ischemia decreased this mitochondrial damage. The DETA/NO-induced blockage of mitochondrial cytochrome c release was reversed by a protein kinase G (PKG) inhibitor KT5823, or soluble guanylate cyclase inhibitor ODQ or protein kinase C inhibitors (Ro 32-0432 and Ro 31-8220). Ischemia also stimulated caspase-3-like activity, and this was substantially reduced by pre-perfusion with DETA/NO. Reperfusion after 30 min of ischemia caused no further caspase activation, but was accompanied by necrosis, which was completely prevented by DETA/NO, and this protection was blocked by the PKG inhibitor. Incubation of isolated heart mitochondria with activated PKG blocked calcium-induced mitochondrial permeability transition and cytochrome c release. Perfusion of non-ischemic heart with DETA/NO also made the subsequently isolated mitochondria resistant to calcium-induced permeabilisation, and this protection was blocked by the PKG inhibitor.
The results indicate that NO rapidly protects the ischemic heart from apoptosis and mitochondrial dysfunction via PKG-mediated blockage of mitochondrial permeability transition and cytochrome c release.