Effect of reperfusion late in the phase of reversible ischemic injury. Changes in cell volume, electrolytes, metabolites, and ultrastructure

R. B. Jennings, J. Schaper, M. L. Hill, C. Steenbergen, K. A. Reimer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The acute effects of reperfusion on myocardium reversibly damaged by 15 minutes of severe ischemia in vivo, were studied. Changes in the adenine nucleotide pool, cell volume regulation, myocardial calcium, and ultrastructure were studied at the end of 15 minutes of ischemia and after 0.5, 3.0, and 20 minutes of reflow. Before reperfusion, adenosine triphospate and the adenylate pool decreased by 63% and 44% of control, respectively, and the adenylate charge was reduced to 0.65. After 3 minutes of reperfusion, the adenylate charge was restored to control by the rephosphorylation of adenosine mono- and diphospate, but adenosine triphosphate was still reduced by 45%. Mild tissue edema was detected after 0.5 minute of reflow and persisted throughout 20 minutes of reperfusion. The increased tissue water was accompanied by a slight increase in sodium and a marked increase in tissue potassium. Although massive calcium accumulation develops when irreversibly injured tissue is reperfused, no calcium overload was detected during early reperfusion of reversibly injured myocytes. Reperfusion for 3 minutes exaggerated the mitochondrial swelling induced by 15 minutes of ischemia but after 20 minutes of reperfusion, myocardial ultrastructure was essentially normal except for rare swollen, or disrupted, mitochondria. Thus, the cellular abnormalities associated with brief periods of ischemia persist for variable periods of time after reperfusion of reversibly injured myocytes. First: although adenine nucleotide repletion occurs very slowly, the adenylate charge was restored after 3 minutes, indicating rapid resumption of mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate production. Second: calcium overload was not detected, but myocardial edema and increased potassium persisted throughout the 20 minutes of reperfusion. Third: the ultrastructural consequences of ischemia were nearly reversed after 20 minutes of reperfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)262-278
Number of pages17
JournalCirculation research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1985
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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