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Purpose: To determine the effect of sufentanil on myocardial apoptosis in rats with myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury (MIRI).
Methods: Fifty Sprague Dawley rats were randomly assigned to five groups: sham, model, low-dose, moderate-dose, and high-dose. The groups, except sham, underwent ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery to establish the MIRI model. The low, moderate, and high-dose groups received intraperitoneal injections of sufentanil at different concentrations. Cardiac function, serum LDH, creatine kinase-MB (CK-MB), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), superoxide dismutase (SOD) and malondialdehyde (MDA) content were evaluated. The mRNA expression levels of apoptosis genes and protein levels of p38 and p-p38 were assessed in myocardial tissues using various methods while apoptosis was assessed by TUNEL assay.
Results: Compared to sham group, the model group exhibited significant decrease in fractional shortening (FS) and ejection fraction (EF), increase in CK activity, LDH, and MDA contents, lower SOD activity. Model group also showed increase in mRNA levels of B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) and caspase- 3, higher apoptosis, significant increase in protein levels of p38 and p-p38, and higher level of myocardial apoptosis (p < 0.05). High-dose group demonstrated significant increase in FS and EF, decrease in LDH content and CK activity, lower MDA content, higher SOD activity, decrease in mRNA levels of Bcl-2 and caspase-3, lower apoptosis, decrease in protein levels of p38 and p-p38, and lower level of myocardial apoptosis (p < 0.05), when compared with model group.
Conclusion: High-dose sufentanil reduces myocardial apoptosis and improves cardiac function, and thus can potentially be developed as a cardioprotective agent.