Document Type



Internal Medicine (East Africa)


Background: Myocardial ischemia reperfusion (I/R) injury is associated with complex pathophysiological changes characterized by pH imbalance, the accumulation of lipid peroxidation products acrolein and 4-hydroxy trans-2-nonenal, and the depletion of ATP levels. Cardioprotective interventions, designed to address individual mediators of I/R injury, have shown limited efficacy. The recently identified enzyme ATPGD1 (Carnosine Synthase), which synthesizes histidyl dipeptides such as carnosine, has the potential to counteract multiple effectors of I/R injury by buffering intracellular pH and quenching lipid peroxidation products and may protect against I/R injury.

Methods and Results: We report here that β-alanine and carnosine feeding enhanced myocardial carnosine levels and protected the heart against I/R injury. Cardiospecific overexpression of ATPGD1 increased myocardial histidyl dipeptides levels and protected the heart from I/R injury. Isolated cardiac myocytes from ATPGD1-transgenic hearts were protected against hypoxia reoxygenation injury. The overexpression of ATPGD1 prevented the accumulation of acrolein and 4-hydroxy trans-2-nonenal-protein adducts in ischemic hearts and delayed acrolein or 4-hydroxy trans-2-nonenal-induced hypercontracture in isolated cardiac myocytes. Changes in the levels of ATP, high-energy phosphates, intracellular pH, and glycolysis during low-flow ischemia in the wild-type mice hearts were attenuated in the ATPGD1-transgenic hearts. Two natural dipeptide analogs (anserine and balenine) that can either quench aldehydes or buffer intracellular pH, but not both, failed to protect against I/R injury.

Conclusions: Either exogenous administration or enhanced endogenous formation of histidyl dipeptides prevents I/R injury by attenuating changes in intracellular pH and preventing the accumulation of lipid peroxidation derived aldehydes.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of the American Heart Association