HDAC Inhibition Blunts Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury by Inducing Cardiomyocyte Autophagy
Background—Reperfusion accounts for a substantial fraction of the myocardial injury occurring with ischemic heart disease. Yet, no standard therapies are available targeting reperfusion injury. Here, we tested the hypothesis that SAHA, a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor FDA-approved for cancer treatment, will blunt reperfusion injury.
Methods and Results—Twenty-one rabbits were randomized into 3 groups: a) vehicle control, b) SAHA pretreatment (one day prior and at surgery), and c) SAHA treatment at the time of reperfusion only. Each arm was subjected to ischemia/reperfusion surgery (I/R, 30min coronary ligation, 24h reperfusion). Additionally cultured neonatal and adult rat ventricular cardiomyocytes were subjected to simulated I/R (sI/R) to probe mechanism. SAHA reduced infarct size and partially rescued systolic function when administered either before surgery (pretreatment) or solely at the time of reperfusion. SAHA plasma concentrations were similar to those achieved in cancer patients. In the infarct border zone, SAHA increased autophagic flux, assayed in both rabbit myocardium and in mice harboring an RFP-GFP-LC3 transgene. In cultured myocytes subjected to sI/R, SAHA pretreatment reduced cell death by 40%. This reduction in cell death correlated with increased autophagic activity in SAHA-treated cells. RNAi-mediated knockdown of ATG7 and ATG5, essential autophagy proteins, abolished SAHA's cardioprotective effects.
Conclusions—The FDA-approved anti-cancer HDAC inhibitor, SAHA, reduces myocardial infarct size in a large animal model, even when delivered in the clinically relevant context of reperfusion. The cardioprotective effects of SAHA during I/R occur, at least in part, through induction of autophagic flux.
- Received March 5, 2013.
- Revision received November 13, 2013.
- Accepted December 9, 2013.