Objective: The aim was to test a hypothesis that ischaemic preconditioning attenuates myocardial stunning via adenosine receptor activation.
Methods: Myocardial stunning was induced in male rabbits by a transient 5 or 10 min coronary artery occlusion, and alteration of regional systolic thickening fraction (TF) was measured by using an epicardial Doppler sensor before and after the regional ischaemia. Rabbits were either untreated, preconditioned with 1 min ischaemia, given 8-phenyltheophylline (8-PT, 10 mg.kg-1 intravenously), or given 8-PT plus 1 min ischaemic preconditioning. Preconditioning and 8-PT were given 5 min and 20 min before stunning the heart, respectively.
Results: Postischaemic recovery of the thickening fraction was significantly improved by preconditioning with 1 min ischaemia. TF (% baseline) after 10 min ischaemia/30 min reperfusion was 84.3(SEM 5.0)% in the preconditioned group, which was significantly higher than the value of 51.3(8.1)% in the control rabbits. Treatment with 8-PT alone did not significantly alter the recovery of TF from 10 min ischaemia [TF = 45.0(7.4)%,], but 8-PT treatment completely abolished the effect of 1 min preconditioning [TF = 51.3(6.4)%]. Attenuation of myocardial stunning by 1 min preconditioning was also observed when the stunning was induced by 5 min ischaemia [92.2(1.3)% in preconditioned group v 75.9(3.2)% in controls].
Conclusions: These findings suggest that preconditioning protects the myocardium against stunning through activation of the adenosine receptors.