Reperfusion injury: does it exist?

J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2007 Jan;42(1):12-8. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2006.09.009. Epub 2006 Oct 27.


It is well established that reperfusion of the heart is the optimal method of salvaging previously ischemic myocardium. However, the idea of reperfusion injury, i.e. injury caused by the process of reperfusion per se, still remains a controversial issue. In this review, we present mounting evidence supporting the concept that reperfusion injury exists, based on work conducted with adenosine and opioid receptor ligands, and the discovery of two new concepts regarding reperfusion injury: 'postconditioning' (POC) and the reperfusion injury salvage kinase (RISK) signaling pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenosine / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Preconditioning, Myocardial
  • Ligands
  • Models, Cardiovascular
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / etiology*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / physiopathology
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / prevention & control
  • Receptors, Opioid / drug effects
  • Receptors, Opioid / physiology
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / drug effects
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1 / physiology


  • Ligands
  • Receptors, Opioid
  • Receptors, Purinergic P1
  • Adenosine