High extracellular K+ during hypoxic preconditioning episodes attenuates the post-ischemic contractile and ionic benefits of preconditioning

Keith M. Baumgarten, Gary Gerstenblith, Robert G. Weiss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Hypoxic preconditioning improves contractile recovery and decreases calcium loading following ischemia and reperfusion. To test whether changing the trans-sarcolemmal K+ gradient during the preconditioning period changes preconditioning's benefits, isolated rat hearts were subjected to two, 5 min hypoxic intervals in the presence of normal K+ (5 mM, NmlK-PC) or high K+ (10.3 mM, HiK-PC), separated by 5 min of normoxic reflow. Preconditioning with 5 mM K+ significantly improved developed pressure (DP) after 30 min of ischemia as compared to non-preconditioned control hearts (55.9 ± 4.41% v 12.4 ± 2.01% of baseline, P < 0.05). DP recovery was diminished with 10.3 mM K+ (25.1 ± 4.20% of baseline, P < 0.05). At the end of reperfusion, cell Ca2+ trended lower in hypoxic preconditioned hearts compared with control hearts (12.9 ± 1.9 v 19.4 ± 2.6 μmol/g dry wt, P = 0.09) and was significantly lower than high K+ hearts (22.9 ± 1.4 μmol/g dry wt. P < 0.006). Intracellular K+ during reperfusion was significantly higher in preconditioned compared with control hearts (P < 0.02) and high K+ hearts (P < 0.002) (231 ± 10 v 166 ± 17 v 155 ± 14 μmol/g dry wt, respectively). Thus, the trans-sarcolemmal K+ gradient during the preconditioning period influences preconditioning effects; decreasing the gradient attenuates preconditioning's favorable influences on contractile recovery, cellular K+ loss, and calcium loading during reperfusion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)203-213
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999



  • Calcium loading
  • Hypoxia
  • Ischemia
  • Preconditioning
  • Reperfusion
  • Trans-sarcolemmal K gradient

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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