Introduction: TNF-alpha is a proinflammatory cytokine implicated in myocardial dysfunction following ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). I/R results in myocardial production of TNF-alpha and TNF-alpha suppresses myocardial contractility. p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) is a redox-sensitive protein kinase involved in intracellular signaling leading to TNF-alpha production. It remains unknown if the human heart produces TNF-alpha after I/R and, if so, whether p38 MAPK is involved.
Hypothesis: p38 MAPK inhibition enhances human myocardial post-I/R contractile function by inhibition of myocardial TNF-alpha production.
Methods: Human atrial trabeculae were suspended in organ baths, field simulated at 1 Hz, and force development was recorded. Following a 90-min equilibration, trabeculae were exposed to a p38 MAPK inhibitor (SB 203580, 1 microM) or vehicle (each n = 6) prior to simulated ischemia (45 min hypoxia, substrate-free, rapid pacing at 3 Hz) followed by 120 min reoxygenation. Myocardial TNF-alpha levels were measured by ELISA at end reoxygenation.
Results: I/R increased human myocardial TNF-alpha levels from 26.9 +/- 9.3 to 83.9 +/- 19.2 pg/g wet tissue (P < 0.05 perfusion vs I/R; ANOVA Bonferroni/Dunn), while p38 MAPK inhibition decreased post-I/R myocardial TNF-alpha levels to 32.3 +/- 8.0 pg/g wet tissue (P > 0.05 p38 MAPK inhibition vs I/R). p38 MAPK inhibition improved postischemic force development from 18.5 +/- 2.1 to 37.0 +/- 2.0% baseline developed force (%BDF; P < 0.05 I/R vs p38 MAPK inhibition).
Conclusions: (1) The human heart produces TNF-alpha after I/R, (2) p38 MAPK mediates myocardial I/R-induced TNF-alpha production, (3) p38 MAPK inhibition limits functional impairment after I/R, and (4) inhibition of ischemia-induced TNF-alpha production may represent a potent therapeutic strategy for improving myocardial function after angioplasty, coronary bypass, or heart transplantation.
Copyright 1999 Academic Press.