Heparin and low molecular weight heparins have been demonstrated to reduce myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, although their use is hampered by the risk of haemorrhagic and thrombotic complications. Chemical and enzymatic modifications of K5 polysaccharide have shown the possibility of producing heparin-like compounds with low anticoagulant activity and strong anti-inflammatory effects. Using a rat model of regional myocardial I/R, we investigated the effects of an epimerized N-,O-sulphated K5 polysaccharide derivative, K5-N,OSepi, on infarct size and histological signs of myocardial injury caused by 30 min. ligature of the left anterior descending coronary artery followed by 1 or 24 h reperfusion. K5-N,OSepi (0.1-1 mg/kg given i.v. 15 min. before reperfusion) significantly reduced the extent of myocardial damage in a dose-dependent manner. Furthermore, we investigated the potential mechanism(s) of the cardioprotective effect(s) afforded by K5-N,OSepi. In left ventricular samples, I/R induced mast cell degranulation and a robust increase in lipid peroxidation, free radical-induced DNA damage and calcium overload. Markers of neutrophil infiltration and activation were also induced by I/R in rat hearts, specifically myeloperoxidase activity, intercellular-adhesion-molecule-1 expression, prostaglandin-E(2) and tumour-necrosis-factor-α production. The robust increase in oxidative stress and inflammatory markers was blunted by K5-N,OSepi, in a dose-dependent manner, with maximum at 1 mg/kg. Furthermore, K5-N,OSepi administration attenuated the increase in caspase 3 activity, Bid and Bax activation and ameliorated the decrease in expression of Bcl-2 within the ischaemic myocardium. In conclusion, we demonstrate that the cardioprotective effect of the non-anticoagulant K5 derivative K5-N,OSepi is secondary to a combination of anti-apoptotic and anti-inflammatory effects.
© 2012 The Authors Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine © 2012 Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd.