Molecular mechanisms of cardiac protection by adaptation to chronic hypoxia

Physiol Res. 2004;53 Suppl 1:S3-13.


Effective protection of the heart against ischemia/reperfusion injury is one of the most important goals of experimental and clinical research in cardiology. Besides ischemic preconditioning as a powerful temporal protective phenomenon, adaptation to chronic hypoxia also increases cardiac tolerance to all major deleterious consequences of acute oxygen deprivation such as myocardial infarction, contractile dysfunction and ventricular arrhythmias. Although many factors have been proposed to play a potential role, the detailed mechanism of this long-term protection remains poorly understood. This review summarizes current limited evidence for the involvement of ATP-sensitive potassium channels, reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide and various protein kinases in cardioprotective effects of chronic hypoxia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological*
  • Animals
  • Cell Hypoxia / physiology
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Ischemia / prevention & control*
  • Nitric Oxide / physiology
  • Potassium Channels / physiology
  • Protein Kinases / physiology
  • Reactive Oxygen Species


  • Potassium Channels
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Protein Kinases