PTEN, the Achilles' heel of myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion injury?

Br J Pharmacol. 2007 Apr;150(7):833-8. doi: 10.1038/sj.bjp.0707155. Epub 2007 Feb 12.


Myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion injury leading to myocardial infarction is one of the most frequent causes of debilitation and death in man. Considerable research has been undertaken to investigate the possibility of reducing myocardial infarction and increasing cell survival by activating certain endogenous prosurvival signaling pathways. Thus, it has been established that the activation of the PI3K (Phosphoinositide-3 kinase)/Akt (Protein kinase B, PKB) signaling pathway is essential for protection against ischaemia/reperfusion injury. This pathway has been shown to be activated by mechanical procedures (e.g. pre and post conditioning) as well as by a number of pharmacological agents. Although the activation of this prosurvival signaling pathway induces the phosphorylation of a large number of substrates implicated in increased cell survival, when activated over a prolonged period this pathway can have detrimental consequences by facilitating unwanted growth and malignancies. Importantly PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten), is the main phosphatase which negatively regulates the PI3K/Akt pathway. In this review we discuss: a) the significance and the limitations of inhibiting PTEN in myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion injury; b) PTEN and its relationship to ischaemic preconditioning, c) the role of PTEN in the development of tolerance to chronic administration of drugs known to limit infarction by activating PI3K/Akt pathway when given acutely, and d) the possible role of PTEN in the ischaemic/reperfused diabetic heart. The experimental evidence discussed in this review illustrates the importance of PTEN inhibition in the protection of the heart against ischaemia/reperfusion injury.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy
  • Ischemic Preconditioning, Myocardial
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase / metabolism*
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / metabolism


  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • PTEN Phosphohydrolase