Browsing by Organization "University of Helsinki, Department of Medicine"

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  • Lakkisto, Päivi (Helsingin yliopisto, 2010)
    Myocardial infarction (MI) and heart failure are major causes of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Treatment of MI involves early restoration of blood flow to limit infarct size and preserve cardiac function. MI leads to left ventricular remodeling, which may eventually progress to heart failure, despite the established pharmacological treatment of the disease. To improve outcome of MI, new strategies for protecting the myocardium against ischemic injury and enhancing the recovery and repair of the infarcted heart are needed. Heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) is a stress-responsive and cytoprotective enzyme catalyzing the degradation of heme into the biologically active reaction products biliverdin/bilirubin, carbon monoxide (CO) and free iron. HO-1 plays a key role in maintaining cellular homeostasis by its antiapoptotic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidative and proangiogenic properties. The present study aimed, first, at evaluating the role of HO-1 as a cardioprotective and prohealing enzyme in experimental rat models and at investigating the potential mechanisms mediating the beneficial effects of HO-1 in the heart. The second aim was to evaluate the role of HO-1 in 231 critically ill intensive care unit (ICU) patients by investigating the association of HO-1 polymorphisms and HO-1 plasma concentrations with illness severity, organ dysfunction and mortality throughout the study population and in the subgroup of cardiac patients. We observed in an experimental rat MI model, that HO-1 expression was induced in the infarcted rat hearts, especially in the infarct and infarct border areas. In addition, pre-emptive HO-1 induction and CO donor pretreatment promoted recovery and repair of the infarcted hearts by differential mechanisms. CO promoted vasculogenesis and formation of new cardiomyocytes by activating c-kit+ stem/progenitor cells via hypoxia-inducible factor 1 alpha, stromal cell-derived factor 1 alpha (SDF-1a) and vascular endothelial growth factor B, whereas HO-1 promoted angiogenesis possibly via SDF-1a. Furthermore, HO-1 protected the heart in the early phase of infarct healing by increasing survival and proliferation of cardiomyocytes. The antiapoptotic effect of HO-1 persisted in the late phases of infarct healing. HO-1 also modulated the production of extracellular matrix components and reduced perivascular fibrosis. Some of these beneficial effects of HO-1 were mediated by CO, e.g. the antiapoptotic effect. However, CO may also have adverse effects on the heart, since it increased the expression of extracellular matrix components. In isolated perfused rat hearts, HO-1 induction improved the recovery of postischemic cardiac function and abrogated reperfusion-induced ventricular fibrillation, possibly in part via connexin 43. We found that HO-1 plasma levels were increased in all critically ill patients, including cardiac patients, and were associated with the degree of organ dysfunction and disease severity. HO-1 plasma concentrations were also higher in ICU and hospital nonsurvivors than in survivors, and the maximum HO-1 concentration was an independent predictor of hospital mortality. Patients with the HO-1 -413T/GT(L)/+99C haplotype had lower HO-1 plasma concentrations and lower incidence of multiple organ dysfunction. However, HO-1 polymorphisms were not associated with ICU or hospital mortality. The present study shows that HO-1 is induced in response to stress in both experimental animal models and severely ill patients. HO-1 played an important role in the recovery and repair of infarcted rat hearts. HO-1 induction and CO donor pretreatment enhanced cardiac regeneration after MI, and HO-1 may protect against pathological left ventricular remodeling. Furthermore, HO-1 induction potentially may protect against I/R injury and cardiac dysfunction in isolated rat hearts. In critically ill ICU patients, HO-1 plasma levels correlate with the degree of organ dysfunction, disease severity, and mortality, suggesting that HO-1 may be useful as a marker of disease severity and in the assessment of outcome of critically ill patients.