Acute Physical Stress Preconditions the Heart Against Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury Through Activation of Sympathetic Nervous System

Abstract Background: Stress is defined as a complicated state that related to homeostasis disturbances, over-activity of the sympathetic nervous system and hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis responses. Cardiac preconditioning reduces myocardial damages. Objective: This study was designed to assess the cardioprotective effects of acute physical stress against ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury through the activation of the sympathetic nervous system. Methods: Thirty-two male Wistar rats were divided into four groups; (1) IR (n = 8): rats underwent I/R, (2) Acute stress (St+IR) (n = 8): physical stress induced 1-hour before I/R, (3) Sympathectomy (Symp+IR) (n = 8): chemical sympathectomy was done 24-hours before I/R and (4) Sympathectomy- physical stress (Symp+St+IR) (n = 8): chemical sympathectomy induced before physical stress and I/R. Chemical sympathectomy was performed using 6-hydroxydopamine (100 mg/kg, sc). Then, the hearts isolated and located in the Langendorff apparatus to induce 30 minutes ischemia followed by 120 minutes reperfusion. The coronary flows, hemodynamic parameters, infarct size, corticosterone level in serum were investigated. P < 0.05 demonstrated significance. Results: Physical stress prior to I/R could improve left ventricular developed pressure (LVDP) and rate product pressure (RPP) of the heart respectively, (63 ± 2 versus 42 ± 1.2, p < 0.05, 70 ± 2 versus 43 ± 2.6, p < 0.05) and reduces infarct size (22.16 ± 1.3 versus 32 ± 1.4, p < 0.05) when compared with the I/R alone. Chemical sympathectomy before physical stress eliminated the protective effect of physical stress on I/R-induced cardiac damages (RPP: 21 ± 6.6 versus 63 ± 2, p < 0.01) (LVDP: 38 ± 4.5 versus 43 ± 2.6, p < 0.01) (infarct size: 35 ± 3.1 versus 22.16 ± 1.3, p < 0.01). Conclusion: Findings indicate that acute physical stress can act as a preconditional stimulator and probably, the presence of sympathetic nervous system is necessary.