Although the application of cardioprotective ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) stimuli after myocardial infarction (MI) is a promising concept for salvaging the myocardium, translation to a clinical scenario has not fulfilled expectations. We have previously shown that in pigs, ischaemic postconditioning (IPostC) reduces myocardial oedema and microvascular obstruction (MVO), without influencing myocardial infarct size. In the present study, we analyzed the mechanisms underlying the IPostC-induced microvascular protection by transcriptomic analysis, followed by pathway analysis. Closed-chest reperfused MI was induced by 90 min percutaneous balloon occlusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery, followed by balloon deflation in anaesthetised pigs. Animals were randomised to IPostC (n = 8), MI (non-conditioned, n = 8), or Control (sham-operated, n = 4) groups. After three hours or three days follow-up, myocardial tissue samples were harvested and subjected to RNA-seq analysis. Although the transcriptome analysis revealed similar expression between IPostC and MI in transcripts involved in cardioprotective pathways, we identified gene expression changes responding to IPostC at the three days follow-up. Focal adhesion signaling, downregulated genes participating in cardiomyopathy and activation of blood cells may have critical consequences for microvascular protection. Specific analyses of the gene subsets enriched in the endothelium of the infarcted area, revealed strong deregulation of transcriptional functional clusters, DNA processing, replication and repair, cell proliferation, and focal adhesion, suggesting sustentative function in the endothelial cell layer protection and integrity. The spatial and time-dependent transcriptome analysis of porcine myocardium supports a protective effect of IPostC on coronary microvasculature post-MI.
Keywords: acute myocardial infarction; ischemia-reperfusion injury; ischemic postconditioning; porcine model; transcriptome.