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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

The role of neutrophils in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury.

Reperfusion of ischemic myocardium is necessary to salvage tissue from eventual death. However, reperfusion after even brief periods of ischemia is associated with pathologic changes that represent either an acceleration of processes initiated during ischemia per se, or new pathophysiological changes that were initiated after reperfusion. This 'reperfusion injury' shares many characteristics with inflammatory responses in the myocardium. Neutrophils feature prominently in this inflammatory component of postischemic injury. Ischemia-reperfusion prompts a release of oxygen free radicals, cytokines and other proinflammatory mediators that activate both the neutrophils and the coronary vascular endothelium. Activation of these cell types promotes the expression of adhesion molecules on both the neutrophils and endothelium, which recruits neutrophils to the surface of the endothelium and initiate a specific cascade of cell-cell interactions, leading first to adherence of neutrophils to the vascular endothelium, followed later by transendothelial migration and direct interaction with myocytes. This specific series of events is a prerequisite to the phenotypic expression of reperfusion injury, including endothelial dysfunction, microvascular collapse and blood flow defects, myocardial infarction and apoptosis. Pharmacologic therapy can target the various components in this critical series of events. Effective targets for these pharmacologic agents include: (a) inhibiting the release or accumulation of proinflammatory mediators, (b) altering neutrophil or endothelial cell activation and (c) attenuating adhesion molecule expression on endothelium, neutrophils and myocytes. Monoclonal antibodies to adhesion molecules (P-selectin, L-selectin, CD11, CD18), complement fragments and receptors attenuate neutrophil-mediated injury (vascular injury, infarction), but clinical application may encounter limitations due to antigen-antibody reactions with the peptides. Humanized antibodies and non-peptide agents, such as oligosaccharide analogs to sialyl Lewis, may prove effective in this regard. Both nitric oxide and adenosine exhibit broad spectrum effects against neutrophil-mediated events and, therefore, can intervene at several critical points in the ischemic-reperfusion response, and may offer greater benefit than agents that interdict at a single point in the cascade. The understanding of the molecular processes regulating actions of neutrophils in ischemic-reperfusion injury may be applicable to other clinical situations, such as trauma, shock and organ or tissue (i.e. vascular conduits) transplantation.[1]


  1. The role of neutrophils in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury. Jordan, J.E., Zhao, Z.Q., Vinten-Johansen, J. Cardiovasc. Res. (1999) [Pubmed]
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