Diazoxide-induced cardioprotection requires signaling through a redox-sensitive mechanism

Robert A. Forbes, Charles Steenbergen, Elizabeth Murphy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

345 Scopus citations


Diazoxide, a selective opener of the mitochondrial ATP-sensitive potassium channel, has been shown to elicit tolerance to ischemia in cardiac myocytes and in perfused heart. However, the mechanism of this cardioprotection is poorly understood. Because reactive oxygen species (ROS) are recognized as important intracellular signaling molecules and have been implicated in ischemic preconditioning, we examined diazoxide-induced ROS production in adult cardiomyocytes. Cells treated with 50 μmol/L diazoxide showed a 173% increase in ROS production relative to baseline. 5-Hydroxydecanoate was found to attenuate the diazoxide-induced increase in ROS generation. The diazoxide-induced increase in ROS also was abrogated by the addition of either the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine (NAC) or N-mercaptopropionylglycine. We also examined the ability of NAC to block the protective effects of diazoxide in the perfused rat heart. After 20 minutes of global ischemia and 20 minutes of reflow, hearts perfused with 100 μmol/L, diazoxide before ischemia showed significantly improved postischemic contractile function relative to untreated hearts (84% versus 29% of initial left ventricular developed pressure, respectively). Hearts treated with diazoxide in the presence of 4 mmol/L NAC recovered 53% of initial left ventricular developed pressure, whereas hearts treated with NAC alone recovered 46% of preischemic function. Using 31P NMR spectroscopy, we found that, similar to preconditioning, diazoxide significantly attenuated ischemia-induced intracellular acidification and enhanced postischemic recovery of phosphocreatine levels, both of which were blocked by cotreatment with NAC. These data suggest that the cardioprotective actions of diazoxide are mediated by generation of a pro-oxidant environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)802-809
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 27 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardioprotection
  • Dichlorofluorescin diacetate
  • Intracellular pH
  • Reactive oxygen species

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Diazoxide-induced cardioprotection requires signaling through a redox-sensitive mechanism'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this