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Dexmedetomidine post-treatment attenuates cardiac ischaemia/reperfusion injury by inhibiting apoptosis through HIF-1α signalling.

  • Author(s): Peng, Ke;
  • Chen, Wei-Rong;
  • Xia, Fan;
  • Liu, Hong;
  • Meng, Xiao-Wen;
  • Zhang, Juan;
  • Liu, Hua-Yue;
  • Xia, Zheng-Yuan;
  • Ji, Fu-Hai
  • et al.

Hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α) plays a critical role in the apoptotic process during cardiac ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. This study aimed to investigate whether post-treatment with dexmedetomidine (DEX) could protect against I/R-induced cardiac apoptosis in vivo and in vitro via regulating HIF-1α signalling pathway. Rat myocardial I/R was induced by occluding the left anterior descending artery for 30 minutes followed by 6-hours reperfusion, and cardiomyocyte hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) was induced by oxygen-glucose deprivation for 6 hours followed by 3-hours reoxygenation. Dexmedetomidine administration at the beginning of reperfusion or reoxygenation attenuated I/R-induced myocardial injury or H/R-induced cell death, alleviated mitochondrial dysfunction, reduced the number of apoptotic cardiomyocytes, inhibited the activation of HIF-1α and modulated the expressions of apoptosis-related proteins including BCL-2, BAX, BNIP3, cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP. Conversely, the HIF-1α prolyl hydroxylase-2 inhibitor IOX2 partly blocked DEX-mediated cardioprotection both in vivo and in vitro. Mechanistically, DEX down-regulated HIF-1α expression at the post-transcriptional level and inhibited the transcriptional activation of the target gene BNIP3. Post-treatment with DEX protects against cardiac I/R injury in vivo and H/R injury in vitro. These effects are, at least in part, mediated via the inhibition of cell apoptosis by targeting HIF-1α signalling.

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