Objective: The Rho-kinase signaling pathway is associated with coronary vasculopathy and myocardial dysfunction after cardiac transplantation. This study evaluated whether using a Rho-kinase inhibitor during allograft storage could limit early endothelial dysfunction and improve myocardial performance after reperfusion. Methods: This experiment was performed with an isolated working rabbit heart model and a support rabbit. Donor hearts (control group, n = 8) were arrested with an extracellular type of cardioplegia, preserved with University of Wisconsin solution, and then immersed in University of Wisconsin solution for 24 hours (1°C). The Rho-kinase inhibitor (Rho-kinase inhibitor group, n = 8) was administrated in the cardioplegic solution, the preservation University of Wisconsin solution, and the storage University of Wisconsin solution. Left ventricular performance was evaluated from the modified Frank-Starling curve in the working mode. Coronary blood flow and donor heart rate were measured in Langendorff mode. Effective evaluation of the Rho-kinase inhibitor was inferred from phosphorylated myosin light chain. The expression of endothelial nitric oxide synthase mRNA was analyzed to assess endothelial function. Results: The Frank-Starling curve showed a significant left and upward shift in the Rho-kinase inhibitor group compared with the control group (P < .05). The coronary blood flow and heart rate in the Rho-kinase inhibitor group at 120 minutes was significantly higher than in the control group (P < .05). Phosphorylated myosin light chain was significantly suppressed in the Rho-kinase inhibitor group (P < .05). Endothelial nitric oxide synthase mRNA levels in the Rho-kinase inhibitor group increased 4-fold relative to those seen in the control group. Conclusions: Treatment with Rho-kinase inhibitor during allograft harvest and storage enhanced coronary blood flow and ventricular recovery through nitric oxide-dependent endothelial protection after reperfusion. Rho-kinase inhibitor could help prevent early myocardial dysfunction after transplantation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine