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Cardioprotective Mechanisms Activated in Response to Myocardial Ischemia

Shu Q. Liu∗,†, Brandon J. Tefft*, Di Zhang*, Derek Roberts*, Daniel J. Schuster*, Allison Wu*

Biomedical Engineering Department, Northwestern University, Evanston, IL 60208-3107
Corresponding author. Phone: 847 491 5745; FAX: 847 491 4928; E-mail:

Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics 2011, 8(4), 319-338.


Myocardial ischemia, a disorder causing myocardial infarction and malfunction, can activate various adaptive mechanisms that protect cardiomyocytes from ischemic injury. During the early hours post myocardial ischemia, injured cardiac cells can release several molecules, including adenosine, opioids, and bradykinin, which promote myocardial survival by activating the G protein signaling pathways. During a later phase about several days, myocardial ischemia induces upregulation of growth factors and cytokines, including VEGF, ILGF, HGF, and SDF-1, in the injured myocardium, contributing to cardioprotection. In addition to the injured heart, the liver participates in cardioprotection. In response to myocardial ischemia, the liver upregulates and releases secretory proteins, including FGF21 and TFF3, both of which promote cardiomyocyte survival. The liver also provides a reservoir of hepatic cells that mobilize to the site of myocardial ischemia, potentially contributing to cardioprotection. Taken together, the early and late mechanisms act coordinately in a time-dependent manner, ensuring effective cardioprotection post myocardial infarction. Investigations on these innate cardioprotective mechanisms have provided insights into the development of cardioprotective strategies for treating myocardial infarction. In this article, the authors review the innate mechanisms of cardioprotection in myocardial ischemia.

Cite This Article

Liu, S. Q., Tefft, B. J., Zhang, D., Roberts, D., Schuster, D. J. et al. (2011). Cardioprotective Mechanisms Activated in Response to Myocardial Ischemia. Molecular & Cellular Biomechanics, 8(4), 319–338.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License , which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
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