This study aimed to explore the role of high mobility group [corrected] box 1 (HMGB1) and its receptor toll like receptor 4 (TLR4) on neutrophils in myocardial ischemia reperfusion (I/R) injury. We constructed TLR4-mutant (C3H/HeJ) and control (C3H/HeN) mouse models of myocardial I/R injury and subjected the mice to 30 min of ischemia and 6h of reperfusion. Light microscope was used to observe structural changes in the myocardium. HMGB1 levels were measured using quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry. Neutrophil accumulation, TNF-a expression and IL-8 levels were analyzed via myeloperoxidase (MPO) biochemical studies, quantitative real-time PCR and ELISA, respectively. The results demonstrated that fewer neutrophils infiltrated in the myocardium of TLR4-mutant mice after myocardial I/R and that TLR4 deficiency markedly decreased the ischemic injury caused by ischemia/reperfusion, and inhibited the expression of HMGB1, TNF-a, and IL-8, all of which were up-regulated by ischemia/reperfusion. These findings suggest that HMGB1 plays a central role in recruiting neutrophils during myocardial I/R leading to worsened myocardial I/R injury. This recruitment mechanism is possibly due to its inflammatory and chemokine functions based on the TLR4-dependent pathway.
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