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Mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase-2 (ALDH-2) is involved in preconditioning pathways, but its role in remote ischaemic preconditioning (rIPC) is unknown. We investigated its role in animal and human models of rIPC. (i) In a rabbit model of myocardial infarction, rIPC alone reduced infarct size [69 ± 5.8 % (n = 11) to 40 ± 6.5 % (n = 12), P = 0.019]. However, rIPC protection was lost after pre-treatment with the ALDH-2 inhibitor cyanamide (62 ± 7.6 % controls, n = 10, versus 61 ± 6.9 % rIPC after cyanamide, n = 10, P > 0.05). (ii) In a forearm plethysmography model of endothelial ischaemia-reperfusion injury, 24 individuals of Asian ethnic origin underwent combined rIPC and ischaemia-reperfusion (IR). 11 had wild-type (WT) enzyme and 13 carried the Glu504Lys (ALDH2*2) polymorphism (rendering ALDH-2 functionally inactive). In WT individuals, rIPC protected against impairment of response to acetylcholine (P = 0.9), but rIPC failed to protect carriers of Glu504Lys polymorphism (P = 0.004). (iii) In a second model of endothelial IR injury, 12 individuals participated in a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover study, receiving the ALDH-2 inhibitor disulfiram 600 mg od or placebo for 48 h prior to assessment of flow-mediated dilation (FMD) before and after combined rIPC and IR. With placebo, rIPC was effective with no difference in FMD before and after IR (6.18 ± 1.03 % and 4.76 ± 0.93 % P = 0.1), but disulfiram inhibited rIPC with a reduction in FMD after IR (7.87 ± 1.27 % and 3.05 ± 0.53 %, P = 0.001). This study demonstrates that ALDH-2 is involved in the rIPC pathway in three distinct rabbit and human models. This has potential implications for future clinical studies of remote conditioning.

Original publication




Journal article


Basic Res Cardiol

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Aldehyde Dehydrogenase, Aldehyde Dehydrogenase, Mitochondrial, Analysis of Variance, Animals, Cross-Over Studies, Cyanamide, Disease Models, Animal, Disulfiram, Dose-Response Relationship, Drug, Double-Blind Method, Endothelium, Vascular, Enzyme Inhibitors, Forearm, Genotype, Hindlimb, Humans, Ischemic Preconditioning, Linear Models, Mutation, Myocardial Infarction, Myocardial Reperfusion Injury, Myocardium, Phenotype, Plethysmography, Rabbits, Regional Blood Flow, Reperfusion Injury, Time Factors, Vasodilation, Vasodilator Agents