Hypoxia and the heart : the role of nitric oxide in cardiac myocytes and endothelial cells
Thesis (PhD (Biomedical Sciences. Medical Physiology))--University of Stellenbosch, 2007.
Nitric oxide (NO) is a major signaling molecule in the heart with various biological effects. The putative role of NO as a cardioprotective agent against ischaemiareperfusion injury and in ischaemic preconditioning (IP) has made it one of the fastest growing fields in basic cardiovascular research. However, NO may also be associated with harmful effects, especially when released in excessive amounts. Little is known about the relative contributions to NO-production by the cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMECs) and the adjacent cardiomyocytes. Furthermore, the respective roles of endothelial NOS (eNOS) and inducible NOS (iNOS) are not well characterized in these cell types, particularly in hypoxia. In order to gain a better understanding of the role of NO in the hypoxic/ischaemic heart, the aims of this study were to: (1) develop an isolated cardiomyocyte model in which hypoxia and early IP can be induced and the role of NO assessed; (2) measure NOproduction in cardiomyocytes and CMECs under baseline and hypoxic conditions; and (3) evaluate the expression, regulation and activation of eNOS and iNOS in cardiomyocytes and CMECs (baseline and hypoxia) and establish the relationship with NO-production under these conditions. Cardiomyocytes isolated from adult rat hearts and commercially purchased rat CMECs were used as cell models.