Oxygen free radicals and cardiac reperfusion abnormalities.
Oxygen free radicals are highly reactive compounds causing peroxidation of lipids and proteins and are thought to play an important role in the pathogenesis of reperfusion abnormalities including myocardial stunning, irreversible injury, and reperfusion arrhythmias. Free radical accumulation has been measured in ischemic and reperfused myocardium directly using techniques such as electron paramagnetic resonance spectroscopy and tissue chemiluminescence and indirectly using biochemical assays of lipid peroxidation products. Potential sources of free radicals during ischemia and reperfusion have been identified in myocytes, vascular endothelium, and leukocytes. In several different experimental models exogenous free radical-generating systems have been shown to produce alterations in cardiac function that resemble the various reperfusion abnormalities described above. Injury to processes involved in regulation of the intracellular Ca2+ concentration may be a common mechanism underlying both free radical-induced and reperfusion abnormalities. Direct effects of free radicals on each of the known Ca(2+)-regulating mechanisms of the cell as well as the contractile proteins and various ionic membrane currents have been described. Free radicals also inhibit critical enzymes in anaerobic and aerobic metabolic pathways, which may limit the metabolic reserve of reperfused myocardium and contribute to intracellular Ca2+ overload. Inhibiting free radical accumulation during myocardial ischemia/reperfusion with free radical scavengers and inhibitors has been demonstrated to reduce the severity of myocardial stunning, irreversible injury, and reperfusion arrhythmias in many, but not all, studies. This evidence strongly implicates free radical accumulation during myocardial ischemia/reperfusion as an important pathophysiological mechanism of reperfusion abnormalities, although many issues remain unresolved.
- Copyright © 1992 by American Heart Association