Cardioprotective effect of sonic hedgehog ligand in pig models of ischemia reperfusion

Theranostics. 2020 Mar 4;10(9):4006-4016. doi: 10.7150/thno.40461. eCollection 2020.


Sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling pathway is involved in embryonic tissue patterning and development. Our previous work identified, in small rodent model of ischemia reperfusion, SHH as a specific efficient tool to reduce infarct size and subsequent arrhythmias by preventing ventricular repolarization abnormalities. The goal of the present study was to provide a proof of concept of the cardioprotective effect of SHH ligand in a porcine model of acute ischemia. Methods: The antiarrhythmic effect of SHH, either by a recombinant peptide (N-SHH) or shed membrane microparticles harboring SHH ligand (MPsSHH+), was evaluated in a first set of pigs following a short (25 min) coronary artery occlusion (CAO) followed by 24 hours-reperfusion (CAR) (Protocol A). The infarct-limiting effect was evaluated on a second set of pigs with 40 min of coronary artery occlusion followed by 24 hours reperfusion (Protocol B). Electrocardiogram (ECG) was recorded and arrhythmia's scores were evaluated. Area at risk and myocardial infarct size were quantified. Results: In protocol A, administration of N-SHH 15 min. after the onset of coronary occlusion significantly reduced the occurrence of ventricular fibrillation compared to control group. Evaluation of arrhythmic score showed that N-SHH treatment significantly reduced the overall occurrence of arrhythmias. In protocol B, massive infarction was observed in control animals. Either N-SHH or MPsSHH+ treatment reduced significantly the infarct size with a concomitant increase of salvaged area. The reduction in infarct size was both accompanied by a significant decrease in systemic biomarkers of myocardial injury, i.e., cardiac troponin I and fatty acid-binding protein and an increase of eNOS activation. Conclusions: We show for the first time in a large mammalian model that the activation of the SHH pathway by N-SHH or MPsSHH+ offers a potent protection of the heart to ischemia-reperfusion by preventing the reperfusion arrhythmias, reducing the infarct area and the circulating levels of biomarkers for myocardial injury. These data open up potentially theranostic prospects for patients suffering from myocardial infarction to prevent the occurrence of arrhythmias and reduce myocardial tissue damage.

Keywords: Sonic hedgehog; arrhythmias; myocardial infarction.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy*
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Hedgehog Proteins / therapeutic use*
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy*
  • Myocardial Ischemia / drug therapy*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / drug therapy*
  • Myocardium
  • Swine


  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Hedgehog Proteins