UCT 2000 05
Identification of alcohol mediated signaling in the induction of preconditioning-like cardiac protection against ischemic damage
Sack, M N
University of Cape Town. Faculty of Health Sciences.
Recent scientific evidence suggests that alcohol may directly protect the heart from being damaged following a heart attack (myocardial infarction) if the heart was previously exposed to a modest amount of alcohol (including white and red wine). This concept of directly protecting the heart muscle against damage from a heart attack is termed ‘preconditioning’ and is thought to be an exciting new strategy that could ultimately be used to protect patients from the tissue-damaging effects of heart attacks. The objective of this study is to begin to understand how alcohol can precondition the heart.
We initially demonstrated that ethanol does protect human heart muscle cells against damage from myocardial ischaemia (the state of lack of oxygen and fuel to the heart) in a dose-dependent way. We have now confirmed this ethanol preconditioning-like effect in a whole heart preparation (rodent). The current work is directed at establishing the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying this protective effect of alcohol in the heart. These data should allow us to gain a greater understanding of the cardiac protective effects of alcohol.