Inhibition of ischemia/reperfusion-induced damage by dexamethasone in isolated working rat hearts: The role of cytochrome c release

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We investigated the contribution of dexamethasone treatment on the recovery of postischemic cardiac function and the development of reperfusion-induced arrhythmias in ischemic/reperfused isolated rat hearts. Rats were treated with 2 mg/kg of intraperitoneal injection of dexamethasone, and 24 hours later, hearts were isolated according to the 'working' mode, perfused, and subjected to 30 min global ischemia followed by 120 min reperfusion. Cardiac function including heart rate, coronary flow, aortic flow, and left ventricular developed pressure were recorded. After 60 min and 120 min reperfusion, 2 mg/kg of dexamethasone significantly improved the postischemic recovery of aortic flow and left ventricular developed pressure from their control values of 10.7 ± 0.3 ml/min and 10.5 ± 0.3 kPa to 22.2 ± 0.3 ml/min (p < 0.05) and 14.3 ± 0.5 kPa (p < 0.05), 19.3 ± 0.3 ml/min (p < 0.05) and 12.3 ± 0.5 kPa (p < 0.05), respectively. Heart rate and coronary flow did not show a significant change in postischemic recovery after 60 or 120 min reperfusion. In rats treated with 0.5 mg/kg of actinomycin D injected i.v., one hour before the dexamethasone injection, suppressed the dexamethasone-induced cardiac protection. Electrocardiograms were monitored to determine the incidence of reperfusion-induced ventricular fibrillation. Dexamethasone pretreatment significantly reduces the occurrence of ventricular fibrillation. Cytochrome c release was also observed in the cytoplasm. The results suggest that the inhibition of cytochrome c release is involved in the dexamethasone-induced cardiac protection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2411-2423
Number of pages13
JournalLife sciences
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2004


  • Actinomycin D
  • Cytochrome c
  • Dexamethasone
  • Ischemia/Reperfusion
  • Isolated heart

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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