Molecular and cellular endocrinology

Molecular mechanisms underlying oxytocin-induced cardiomyocyte protection from simulated ischemia-reperfusion.

PMID 25963797


Oxytocin (OT) stimulates cardioprotection. Here we investigated heart-derived H9c2 cells in simulated ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) experiments in order to examine the mechanism of OT protection. I-R was induced in an anoxic chamber for 2 hours and followed by 2 h of reperfusion. In comparison to normoxia, I-R resulted in decrease of formazan production by H9c2 cells to 63.5 ± 1.7% (MTT assay) and in enhanced apoptosis from 1.7 ± 0.3% to 2.8 ± 0.4% (Tunel test). Using these assays it was observed that treatment with OT (1-500 nM) exerted significant protection during I-R, especially when OT was added at the time of ischemia or reperfusion. Using the CM-H2DCFDA probe we found that OT triggers a short-lived burst in reactive oxygen species (ROS) production in cells but reduces ROS production evoked by I-R. In cells treated with OT, Western-blot revealed the phosphorylation of Akt (Thr 308, p-Akt), eNOS and ERK 1/2. Microscopy showed translocation of p-Akt and eNOS into the nuclear and perinuclear area and NO production in cells treated with OT. The OT-induced protection against I-R was abrogated by an OT antagonist, the Pi3K inhibitor Wortmannin, the cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) inhibitor, KT5823, as well as soluble guanylate cyclase (GC) inhibitor, ODQ, and particulate GC antagonist, A71915. In conditions of I-R, the cells with siRNA-mediated reduction in OT receptor (OTR) expression responded to OT treatment by enhanced apoptosis. In conclusion, the OTR protected H9c2 cells against I-R, especially if activated at the onset of ischemia or reperfusion. The OTR-transduced signals include pro-survival kinases, such as Akt and PKG.