Evidence for involvement of opioid receptors in ischemic preconditioning in rat hearts

Author(s): Schultz JE, Rose E, Yao Z, Gross GJ


The purpose of the present study was to investigate a possible role of opioid receptors in ischemic preconditioning (PC). To test this hypothesis, anesthetized, open-chest, male Wistar rats were subjected to five different protocols. In group I, the control group was subjected to 30 min of left coronary artery occlusion and 2 h of reperfusion. In group II, ischemic PC was elicited by three 5-min occlusion periods interspersed with 5 min of reperfusion. In group III, naloxone (NL, 3 mg/kg iv), a nonselective opioid antagonist, was given to nonpreconditioned rats 10 min before the 30-min occlusion period. Finally, NL was administered 10 min before preconditioning (NL + PC, group IV) or immediately after the last 5-min preconditioning period (PC + NL, group V). Infarct size (IS) as a percentage of the area at risk (AAR) (IS/AAR) was determined by 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining. PC resulted in a marked reduction in myocardial IS from 45 +/- 5 to 8 +/- 1 (P < 0.05). NL treatment before or immediately after PC abolished this protective effect; however, NL had no effect on IS in non-PC rats. These results are the first to support the hypothesis that activation of opioid receptors may play an important role in ischemic PC in the rat myocardium.

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