Objectives: A series of brief coronary artery reperfusions and reocclusions applied during the early minutes of coronary artery reflow ("postconditioning") attenuates reperfusion injury. However, it is not known whether brief ischemia-reperfusion applied to a distant organ at the onset of myocardial reperfusion (i.e. "remote postconditioning", remote PostC) reduces infarct size in the reperfused myocardium. In an in vivo anesthetized rat model of myocardial infarction induced by coronary artery occlusion and reperfusion, this study tested the hypothesis that remote postC induced by a single 5 minute episode of renal artery (RA) occlusion and reperfusion applied immediately before the onset of coronary artery reperfusion protects the myocardium from reperfusion injury by mechanisms involving endogenous adenosine receptor activation.
Methods: All rats were subjected to a total of 30 minutes of left coronary artery occlusion (LCAO) and 3 hours of reperfusion. The rats were randomized to one of six groups: 1) CONTROL: LCAO and reperfusion only with no other intervention; 2) Remote PostC: after 24 minutes of LCAO the RA was occluded for 5 minutes and released 1 min before coronary artery reperfusion; 3) Permanent RA occlusion: the RA was permanently occluded after 24 minutes LCAO continuing to the end of reperfusion; 4) Delayed Remote PostC: after 26 minutes LCAO the RA was occluded for 5 minutes, and its release was delayed until 1 min after coronary artery reperfusion; 5) CON + SPT: rats with LCAO and reperfusion received 10 mg/kg IV of the non-selective adenosine receptor antagonist 8-sulfophenyl theophylline [SPT] administered 5 minutes before coronary artery reperfusion; and 6) Remote PostC + SPT: after 24 minutes of LCAO the RA was occluded for 5 minutes and released 1 minute before coronary artery reperfusion in the presence of 10 mg/kg SPT given 5 min before coronary artery reperfusion.
Results: Myocardial infarct size (percentage necrosis/area at risk, mean +/- SEM) was reduced by 50% in Remote PostC (25 +/- 4%) compared to CONTROL (49 +/- 4%, p = 0.003), consistent with a reduction in plasma CK activity (44 +/- 5 vs. 67 +/- 6 U/ml, p = 0.023). In contrast, permanent RA occlusion before LCAO and reperfusion failed to reduce myocardial infarct size (47 +/- 5%) vs CONTROL. Delaying the release of the RA occlusion (delayed Remote PostC) abrogated the myocardial infarct reduction observed with Remote PostC (48 +/- 6%). SPT alone had no effect on infarct size (47 +/- 4% in CON + SPT vs. 49 +/- 4% in CON); however, Remote PostC+SPT abrogated the myocardial infarct size reduction in Remote PostC (50 +/- 3% in Remote PostC + SPT vs. 25 +/- 4% in Remote PostC).
Conclusions: Remote renal postconditioning applied immediately before the onset of coronary artery reperfusion provides potent myocardial infarct size reduction likely exerted during the first minutes of coronary artery reperfusion. This inter-organ remote postconditioning phenomenon is likely mediated in part by release of adenosine by the ischemic-reperfused kidney and subsequent activation of adenosine receptors.