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Remote ischemic preconditioning differentially attenuates post-ischemic cardiac arrhythmia in streptozotocin-induced diabetic versus nondiabetic rats.



Sudden cardiac death (SCD), a leading cause of global mortality, most commonly arises from a substrate of cardiac ischemia, but requires an additional trigger. Diabetes mellitus (DM) predisposes to SCD even after adjusting for other DM-linked cardiovascular pathology such as coronary artery disease. We previously showed that remote liver ischemia preconditioning (RLIPC) is highly protective against cardiac ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI) linked ventricular arrhythmias and myocardial infarction, via induction of the cardioprotective RISK pathway, and specifically, inhibitory phosphorylation of GSK-3β (Ser 9).


We evaluated the impact of acute streptozotocin-induced DM on coronary artery ligation IRI-linked ventricular arrhythmogenesis and RLIPC therapy in rats.


Post-IRI arrhythmia induction was similar in nondiabetic and DM rats, but, unexpectedly, DM rats exhibited lower incidence of SCD during reperfusion (41 vs. 100%), suggesting uncontrolled hyperglycemia does not acutely predispose to SCD. RLIPC was highly effective in both nondiabetic and DM rats at reducing incidence and duration of, and increasing latency to, all classes of ventricular tachyarrhythmias. In contrast, atrioventricular block (AVB) was highly responsive to RLIPC in nondiabetic rats (incidence reduced from 72 to 18%) but unresponsive in DM rats. RISK pathway induction was similar in nondiabetic and DM rats, thus not explaining the DM-specific resistance of AVB to therapy.


Our findings uncover important acute DM-specific differences in responsiveness to remote preconditioning for ventricular tachyarrhythmias versus AVB, which may have clinical significance given that AVB is a malignant arrhythmia twofold more common in human diabetics than nondiabetics, and correlated to plasma glucose levels >10 mmol/L.

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