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Gender seems to interfere with the cardioprotective effect of ischemic preconditioning (PreC) and postconditioning (PostC); PreC-conferred protection is weaker or lost in female animals after ovariectomy (Ov), while the role of PostC is still in dispute. We sought to investigate the effect of PostC in female rabbits, its interaction with Ov, and the potential implicated intracellular pathways. Intact or Ov adult female rabbits (n = 46) were subjected to 30 min ischemia and reperfusion with PostC (PostC or OvPostC), which consisted of six cycles of 30-s ischemia/30-s reperfusion at the end of ischemia, or without PostC (Fem or OvFem). Infarct size (I) and area at risk (R) were determined by TTC staining and fluorescent particles, respectively, after 3-h reperfusion in 30 out of 46 animals. Plasma levels of estradiol and nitrite/nitrate (NO x ) were evaluated. ERKs, p38-MAPK, and Akt assessment was performed in excised hearts 1-min after starting the final reperfusion period in the remaining 16 animals. Infarct size was significantly reduced only in OvPostC group (I/R ratio, 25.3 ± 2.7, vs 48.1 ± 2.0, 43.6 ± 4.2 and 55.1 ± 5.6 % in Fem, OvFem, and PostC groups, p < 0.05). In ovariectomized rabbits, plasma estradiol and NO x levels were lower than in the normal ones. Akt phosphorylation in ischemic regions was significantly higher in OvPostC group, whereas ERK1/2 and p38-MAPK activation was observed in all ovariectomized animals irrespective of PostC. PostC is not effective in female rabbits, but the protection is reinstated after Ov potentially via the RISK pathway.


Eftychia Demerouti, Ioanna Andreadou, Ioanna-Katerina Aggeli, Dimitrios Farmakis, Anastasia Zoga, Catherine Gaitanaki, Isidoros Beis, Maria Anastasiou-Nana, Dimitrios Th Kremastinos, Efstathios K Iliodromitis. Ovariectomy reinstates the infarct size-limiting effect of postconditioning in female rabbits. Cell biochemistry and biophysics. 2013 Apr;65(3):373-80

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PMID: 23070726

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