Remote ischemic preconditioning of the recipient reduces myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury of the denervated donor heart via a Katp channel-dependent mechanism

Transplantation. 2005 Jun 27;79(12):1691-5. doi: 10.1097/


Background: We assess whether remote ischemic preconditioning (rIPC) of the recipient can modify ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury in the donor heart following orthotopic heart transplantation from brain dead donors and to examine potential mechanisms of protection.

Methods: Sixteen pigs weighing from 26 to 34.2 (mean 29.2) kg, randomized to control group (n=5), ischemic preconditioning (rIPC) group (n=6), and to receive rIPC with prior glibenclamide administration (Glib + rIPC) group (n=5) underwent orthotopic heart transplantation with the support of hypothermic (32 degrees C) cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB). The hearts were harvested from donor animal rendered brain dead by balloon compression via a craniotomy. Preconditioning of the recipients was induced by four 5-min cycles of lower limb ischemia. Myocardial infarction (MI) was induced following heart transplantation by 30 min of left anterior descending (LAD) artery occlusion following by 2 hr of regional reperfusion. The extent of myocardial infarction was assessed by triphenyltetrazolium (TTC) staining.

Results: Preconditioning of the recipient reduced the mass of MI (6.75+/-6.3 g in rIPC vs. 18.1+/-5.8 g in control, P=0.01), MI to area at risk (ARR) mass ratio by 57% (15.6%+/-15.2% vs. 36.3%+/-13.4%, P=0.04). The protective effect of preconditioning was abolished by pretreatment with glibenclamide.

Conclusions: Remote ischemic preconditioning of the recipient, decreases ischemia-reperfusion injury in the brain dead donor heart following orthotopic heart transplantation via a Katp channel-dependent mechanism. This study suggests that a circulating effector persists after the rIPC stimulus is applied, and excludes an ongoing afferent neurogenic mechanism of cardioprotection.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blood Pressure
  • Brain Death
  • Catecholamines / blood
  • Denervation
  • Heart Rate
  • Heart Transplantation / pathology
  • Heart Transplantation / physiology*
  • Ischemic Preconditioning, Myocardial / methods*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control*
  • Potassium Channels / physiology*
  • Swine
  • Transplantation, Homologous / pathology
  • Transplantation, Homologous / physiology


  • Catecholamines
  • Potassium Channels
  • mitochondrial K(ATP) channel