Author + information
- Jutta Schaper, MD* and
- Wolfgang Schaper, MD
- ↵*Address for reprints: Jutta Schaper, MD, Max-Planck-Institute, Department of Experimental Cardiology, Benekestrasse 2, D-6350 Bad Nauheim, West Germany.
The effects of reperfusion on ischemic myocardium generally depend on the severity of the preceding ischemic injury. Reperfusion of myocardium, irreversibly injured by ischemia, produces further progression of myocardial necrosis that is accompanied by simultaneously occurring stimulation of interstitial cell proliferation resulting in scar formation. Reperfusion of reversibly injured myocardium leads to structural improvement and reorganization. Thus, it may be stated from the ultrastructural part of this study that reperfusion of ischemic myocardium induces 1) slow structural recuperation after reversible injury, and 2) accelerated cellular destruction and symptoms of scar formation after irreversible ischemic injury. We observed that the reduced tissue content of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD), rather than reduced dehydrogenase activity, is the basis of histochemical reactions employing tetrazolium salts. Directly measured NAD tissue content in ischemic tissue correlated well with the degree of ultrastructural injury and with macroscopic differential staining.
Occlusion of two small coronary arteries in the same heart followed by reperfusion of only one artery (identical occlusion times for both arteries) showed identical infarct sizes for reperfused and nonreperfused myocardium for occlusion times of 3 and 6 hours. When the effects of occlusion times of less than 3 hours are studied with tetrazolium salts, a difficult technical problem arises: during that time, tissue-NAD concentrations have not decreased enough to enable differential staining. Reperfusion leads to washout of NAD, thus producing differential staining; this may be a harmful effect of reperfusion. However, because early reperfusion leads to significant structural and functional recovery and to small infarcts, reperfusion injury is unlikely to occur. Both ultrastructural and histochemical evidence suggest that reperfusion is beneficial for reversibly injured tissue but accelerates the decay of irreversibly injured tissue.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation