Involvement of glycogen synthase kinase-3β in liver ischemic conditioning induced cardioprotection against myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury in rats

Shuai Yang, Geoffrey W. Abbott, Wei Dong Gao, Jin Liu, Chaozhi Luo, Zhaoyang Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Remote ischemic conditioning has been convincingly shown to render the myocardium resistant to a subsequent more severe sustained episode of ischemia. Compared with other organs, little is known regarding the effect of transient liver ischemic conditioning. We proposed the existence of cardioprotection induced by remote liver conditioning. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into sham-operated control (no further hepatic intervention) and remote liver ischemic conditioning groups. For liver ischemic conditioning, three cycles of 5 min of liver ischemia-reperfusion stimuli were conducted before-(liver preconditioning), post-myocardial ischemia (liver postconditioning), or in combination of both (liver preconditioning + liver postconditioning). Rats were exposed to 45 min of left anterior descending coronary artery occlusion, followed by 3 h of reperfusion thereafter. ECG and hemodynamics were measured throughout the experiment. The coronary artery was reoccluded at the end of reperfusion for infarct size determination. Blood samples were taken for serum lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase-MB test. Heart tissues were taken for apoptosis measurements and Western blotting. Our data demonstrate that liver ischemic preconditioning, postconditioning, or a combination of both, offered strong cardioprotection, as evidenced by reduction in infarct size and cardiac tissue damage, recovery of cardiac function, and inhibition of apoptosis after ischemia-reperfusion. Moreover, liver ischemic conditioning increased cardiac (not hepatic) glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) phosphorylation. Accordingly, inhibition of GSK-3β mimicked the cardioprotective action of liver conditioning. These results demonstrate that remote liver ischemic conditioning protected the heart against ischemia and reperfusion injury via GSK-3β-dependent cell-survival signaling pathway. NEW & NOTEWORTHY: Remote ischemic conditioning protects hearts against ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury. However, it is unclear whether ischemic conditioning of visceral organs such as the liver, the largest metabolic organ in the body, can produce cardioprotection. This is the first study to show the cardioprotective effect of remote liver ischemic conditioning in a rat model of myocardial I/R injury. We also, for the first time, demonstrated these protective properties are associated with glycogen synthase kinase-3β-dependent cell-survival signaling pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1095-1105
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2017


  • Cardioprotection
  • GSK-3β
  • Liver ischemic conditioning
  • Myocardial ischemia and reperfusion injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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