Background: Transient episodes of ischemia in a remote organ or tissue (remote ischemic preconditioning, RIPC) can attenuate myocardial injury. Myocardial damage is associated with tissue remodeling and the matrix metalloproteinases 2 and 9 (MMP-2/9) are crucially involved in these events. Here we investigated the effects of RIPC on the activities of heart tissue MMP-2/9 and their correlation with serum concentrations of cardiac troponin T (cTnT), a marker for myocardial damage.
Methods: In cardiosurgical patients with cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) RIPC was induced by four 5 minute cycles of upper limb ischemia/reperfusion. Cardiac tissue was obtained before as well as after CPB and serum cTnT concentrations were measured. Tissue derived from control patients (N = 17) with high cTnT concentrations (≥0.32 ng/ml) and RIPC patients (N = 18) with low cTnT (≤0.32 ng/ml) was subjected to gelatin zymography to quantify MMP-2/9 activities.
Results: In cardiac biopsies obtained before CPB, activities of MMP-2/9 were attenuated in the RIPC group (MMP-2: Control, 1.13 ± 0.13 a.u.; RIPC, 0.71 ± 0.12 a.u.; P < 0.05. MMP-9: Control, 1.50 ± 0.16 a.u.; RIPC, 0.87 ± 0.14 a.u.; P < 0.01), while activities of the pro-MMPs were not altered (P > 0.05). In cardiac biopsies taken after CPB activities of pro- and active MMP-2/9 were not different between the groups (P > 0.05). Spearman's rank tests showed that MMP-2/9 activities in cardiac tissue obtained before CPB were positively correlated with postoperative cTnT serum levels (MMP-2, P = 0.016; MMP-9, P = 0.015).
Conclusions: Activities of MMP-2/9 in cardiac tissue obtained before CPB are attenuated by RIPC and are positively correlated with serum concentrations of cTnT. MMPs may represent potential targets for RIPC mediated cardioprotection.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov identifier NCT00877305.