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The importance of clinically relevant background therapy in cardioprotective studies

  • He, Zhenhe1
  • Davidson, Sean M.1
  • Yellon, Derek M.1
  • 1 University College London, 67 Chenies Mews, London, WC1E 6HX, UK , London (United Kingdom)
Published Article
Basic Research in Cardiology
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Publication Date
Nov 13, 2020
DOI: 10.1007/s00395-020-00830-y
Springer Nature


Treatment of acute myocardial infarct patients (AMI) includes rapid restoration of coronary blood flow and pharmacological therapy aimed to prevent pain and maintain vessel patency. Many interventions have been investigated to offer additional protection. One such intervention is remote ischaemic conditioning (RIC) involving short-episodes of ischaemia of the arm with a blood pressure cuff, followed by reperfusion to protect the heart organs from subsequent severe ischaemia. However, the recent CONDI2-ERIC-PPCI multicentre study of RIC in STEMI showed no benefit in clinical outcome in low risk patients. It could also be argued that these patients were already in a partially protected state, highlighting the disconnect between animal- and clinical-based outcome studies. To improve potential translatability, we developed an animal model using pharmacological agents similar to those given to patients presenting with an AMI, prior to PPCI. Rats underwent MI on a combined background of an opioid agonist, heparin and a platelet-inhibitor thereby allowing us to assess whether additional cardioprotective strategies had any effect over and above this “cocktail”. We demonstrated that the “background drugs” were protective in their own right, reducing MI from 57.5 ± 3.7% to 37.3 ± 2.9% (n = 11, p < 0.001). On this background of drugs, RIC did not add any further protection (38.0 ± 3.4%). However, using a caspase inhibitor, which acts via a different mechanistic pathway to RIC, we were able to demonstrate additional protection (20.6 ± 3.3%). This concept provides initial evidence to develop models which can be used to evaluate future animal-to-clinical translation in cardioprotective studies.

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