Background: Cardioprotective value of ischemic post- (IPostC), remote (RIC) conditioning in acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is unclear in clinical trials. To evaluate cardioprotection, most translational animal studies and clinical trials utilize necrotic tissue referred to the area at risk (AAR) by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). However, determination of AAR by MRI' may not be accurate, since MRI-indices of microvascular damage, i.e., myocardial edema and microvascular obstruction (MVO), may be affected by cardioprotection independently from myocardial necrosis. Therefore, we assessed the effect of IPostC, RIC conditioning and ischemic preconditioning (IPreC; positive control) on myocardial necrosis, edema and MVO in a clinically relevant, closed-chest pig model of AMI.
Methods and results: Acute myocardial infarction was induced by a 90-min balloon occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery (LAD) in domestic juvenile female pigs. IPostC (6 × 30 s ischemia/reperfusion after 90-min occlusion) and RIC (4 × 5 min hind limb ischemia/reperfusion during 90-min LAD occlusion) did not reduce myocardial necrosis as assessed by late gadolinium enhancement 3 days after reperfusion and by ex vivo triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining 3 h after reperfusion, however, the positive control, IPreC (3 × 5 min ischemia/reperfusion before 90-min LAD occlusion) did. IPostC and RIC attenuated myocardial edema as measured by cardiac T2-weighted MRI 3 days after reperfusion, however, AAR measured by Evans blue staining was not different among groups, which confirms that myocardial edema is not a measure of AAR, IPostC and IPreC but not RIC decreased MVO.
Conclusion: We conclude that IPostC and RIC interventions may protect the coronary microvasculature even without reducing myocardial necrosis.
Keywords: Area at risk; Ischemia/reperfusion injury; Ischemic postconditioning; Ischemic preconditioning; Myocardial edema; Remote conditioning.