Activation of Autophagic Flux Maintains Mitochondrial Homeostasis during Cardiac Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury

Academic Article


  • Reperfusion injury after extended ischemia accounts for approximately 50% of myocar-dial infarct size, and there is no standard therapy. HDAC inhibition reduces infarct size and enhances cardiomyocyte autophagy and PGC1α-mediated mitochondrial biogenesis when administered at the time of reperfusion. Furthermore, a specific autophagy-inducing peptide, Tat-Beclin 1 (TB), reduces infarct size when administered at the time of reperfusion. However, since SAHA af-fects multiple pathways in addition to inducing autophagy, whether autophagic flux induced by TB maintains mitochondrial homeostasis during ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury is unknown. We tested whether the augmentation of autophagic flux by TB has cardioprotection by preserving mi-tochondrial homeostasis both in vitro and in vivo. Wild-type mice were randomized into two groups: Tat-Scrambled (TS) peptide as the control and TB as the experimental group. Mice were subjected to I/R surgery (45 min coronary ligation, 24 h reperfusion). Autophagic flux, mitochon-drial DNA (mtDNA), mitochondrial morphology, and mitochondrial dynamic genes were assayed. Cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVMs) were treated with a simulated I/R injury to verify cardiomyocyte specificity. The essential autophagy gene, ATG7, conditional cardiomyocyte-specific knockout (ATG7 cKO) mice, and isolated adult mouse ventricular myocytes (AMVMs) were used to evaluate the dependency of autophagy in adult cardiomyocytes. In NRVMs subjected to I/R, TB increased autophagic flux, mtDNA content, mitochondrial function, reduced reactive oxy-gen species (ROS), and mtDNA damage. Similarly, in the infarct border zone of the mouse heart, TB induced autophagy, increased mitochondrial size and mtDNA content, and promoted the expression of PGC1α and mitochondrial dynamic genes. Conversely, loss of ATG7 in AMVMs and in the myocardium of ATG7 cKO mice abolished the beneficial effects of TB on mitochondrial home-ostasis. Thus, autophagic flux is a sufficient and essential process to mitigate myocardial reperfu-sion injury by maintaining mitochondrial homeostasis and partly by inducing PGC1α-mediated mitochondrial biogenesis.
  • Published In

  • Cells  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • He L; Chu Y; Yang J; He J; Hua Y; Chen Y; Benavides G; Rowe GC; Zhou L; Ballinger S
  • Volume

  • 11
  • Issue

  • 13