Myocardial impairment in chronic hypoxia is abolished by short aeration episodes: involvement of K+ATP channels

Exp Biol Med (Maywood). 2004 Dec;229(11):1196-205. doi: 10.1177/153537020422901115.


In vivo exposure to chronic hypoxia is considered to be a cause of myocardial dysfunction, thereby representing a deleterious condition, but repeated aeration episodes may exert some cardioprotection. We investigated the possible role of ATP-sensitive potassium channels in these mechanisms. First, rats (n = 8/group) were exposed for 14 days to either chronic hypoxia (CH; 10% O(2)) or chronic hypoxia with one episode/day of 1-hr normoxic aeration (CH+A), with normoxia (N) as the control. Second, isolated hearts were Langendorff perfused under hypoxia (10% O(2), 30 min) and reoxygenated (94% O(2), 30 min) with or without 3 microM glibenclamide (nonselective K(+)(ATP) channel-blocker) or 100 microM diazoxide (selective mitochondrial K(+)(ATP) channel-opener). Blood gasses, hemoglobin concentration, and plasma malondialdehyde were similar in CH and CH+A and in both different from normoxic (P < 0.01), body weight gain and plasma nitrate/nitrite were higher in CH+A than CH (P < 0.01), whereas apoptosis (number of TUNEL-positive nuclei) was less in CH+A than CH (P < 0.05). During in vitro hypoxia, the efficiency (ratio of ATP production/pressure x rate product) was the same in all groups and diazoxide had no measurable effects on myocardial performance, whereas glibenclamide increased end-diastolic pressure more in N and CH than in CH+A hearts (P < 0.05). During reoxgenation, efficiency was markedly less in CH with respect to N and CH+A (P < 0.0001), and ratex pressure product remained lower in CH than N and CH+A hearts (P < 0.001), but glibenclamide or diazoxide abolished this difference. Glibenclamide, but not diazoxide, decreased vascular resistance in N and CH (P < 0.005 and < 0.001) without changes in CH+A. We hypothesize that cardioprotection in chronically hypoxic hearts derive from cell depolarization by sarcolemmal K(+)(ATP) blockade or from preservation of oxidative phosphorylation efficiency (ATP turnover/myocardial performance) by mitochondrial K(+)(ATP) opening. Therefore K(+)(ATP) channels are involved in the deleterious effects of chronic hypoxia and in the cardioprotection elicited when chronic hypoxia is interrupted with short normoxic aeration episodes.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis / physiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Glyburide / pharmacology
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart / physiopathology*
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • In Situ Nick-End Labeling
  • Male
  • Myocardial Reperfusion
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Organ Culture Techniques
  • Oxidative Stress / physiology
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Potassium Channels / drug effects
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Potassium Channels
  • Glyburide