Activation of Sonic hedgehog signaling in ventricular cardiomyocytes exerts cardioprotection against ischemia reperfusion injuries

Sci Rep. 2015 Jan 23;5:7983. doi: 10.1038/srep07983.


Sonic hedgehog (SHH) is a conserved protein involved in embryonic tissue patterning and development. SHH signaling has been reported as a cardio-protective pathway via muscle repair-associated angiogenesis. The goal of this study was to investigate the role of SHH signaling pathway in the adult myocardium in physiological situation and after ischemia-reperfusion. We show in a rat model of ischemia-reperfusion that stimulation of SHH pathway, either by a recombinant peptide or shed membranes microparticles harboring SHH ligand, prior to reperfusion reduces both infarct size and subsequent arrhythmias by preventing ventricular repolarization abnormalities. We further demonstrate in healthy animals a reduction of QTc interval mediated by NO/cGMP pathway leading to the shortening of ventricular cardiomyocytes action potential duration due to the activation of an inward rectifying potassium current sharing pharmacological and electrophysiological properties with ATP-dependent potassium current. Besides its effect on both angiogenesis and endothelial dysfunction we demonstrate here a novel cardio-protective effect of SHH acting directly on the cardiomyocytes. This emphasizes the pleotropic effect of SHH pathway as a potential cardiac therapeutic target.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / pathology
  • Cyclic GMP / metabolism*
  • Hedgehog Proteins / metabolism*
  • Myocardial Infarction / metabolism
  • Myocardial Infarction / pathology
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / metabolism*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / pathology
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / pathology
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred WKY
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Hedgehog Proteins
  • Shh protein, rat
  • Nitric Oxide
  • Cyclic GMP