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1.  The Protective Effects of Ischemic Postconditioning against Stroke: From Rapid to Delayed and Remote Postconditioning 
The author reviews the protective effects of ischemic postconditioning, a recently emerging strategy with broad implications in the search for new treatments in stroke and myocardial ischemic injury. Ischemic postconditioning, which refers to a series of brief ischemia and reperfusion cycles applied immediately at the site of the ischemic organ after reperfusion, results in reduced infarction in both cerebral and myocardial ischemia. Conventional postconditioning induced within a few minutes after reperfusion is arbitrarily defined as rapid postconditioning. In contrast, postconditioning performed hours to days after stroke is defined as delayed postconditioning. In addition, postconditioning can be mimicked using anesthetics or other pharmacological agents as stimuli to protect against ischemia/reperfusion injury or performed in a distant organ, which is known as remote postconditioning. In this article, the author discusses the conceptual origin of classical rapid ischemic postconditioning and its evolution into a term that represents a broad range of stimuli or triggers, including delayed postconditioning, pharmacological postconditioning, and remote postconditioning. Thereafter, various in vivo and in vitro models of postconditioning and its potential protective mechanisms are discussed. Since the concept of postconditioning is so closely associated with that of preconditioning and both share some common protective mechanisms, whether a combination of preconditioning and postconditioning offers greater protection than preconditioning or postconditioning alone is also discussed.
PMCID: PMC3204606  PMID: 22053169
Postconditioning; preconditioning; stroke; cerebral ischemia; focal ischemia; neuroprotection
2.  From Rapid to Delayed and Remote Postconditioning: the Evolving Concept of Ischemic Postconditioning in Brain Ischemia 
Current Drug Targets  2012;13(2):173-187.
Ischemic postconditioning is a concept originally defined to contrast with that of ischemic preconditioning. While both preconditioning and postconditioning confer a neuroprotective effect on brain ischemia, preconditioning is a sublethal insult performed in advance of brain ischemia, and postconditioning, which conventionally refers to a series of brief occlusions and reperfusions of the blood vessels, is conducted after ischemia/reperfusion. In this article, we first briefly review the history of preconditioning, including the experimentation that initially uncovered its neuroprotective effects and later revealed its underlying mechanisms-of-action. We then discuss how preconditioning research evolved into that of postconditioning – a concept that now represents a broad range of stimuli or triggers, including delayed postconditioning, pharmacological postconditioning, remote postconditioning – and its underlying protective mechanisms involving the Akt, MAPK, PKC and KATP channel cell-signaling pathways. Because the concept of postconditioning is so closely associated with that of preconditioning, and both share some common protective mechanisms, we also discuss whether a combination of preconditioning and postconditioning offers greater protection than preconditioning or postconditioning alone.
PMCID: PMC3346695  PMID: 22204317
postconditioning; preconditioning; stroke; cerebral ischemia; focal ischemia; neuroprotection
3.  The Akt signaling pathway contributes to postconditioning’s protection against stroke; the protection is associated with the MAPK and PKC pathways 
Journal of neurochemistry  2008;105(3):943-955.
We previously reported that ischemic postconditioning with a series of mechanical interruptions of reperfusion reduced infarct volume 2 days after focal ischemia in rats. Here, we extend this data by examining long-term protection and exploring underlying mechanisms involving the Akt, mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and protein kinase C (PKC) signaling pathways. Post-conditioning reduced infarct and improved behavioral function assessed 30 days after stroke. Additionally, postconditioning increased levels of phosphorylated Akt (Ser473) as measured by western blot and Akt activity as measured by an in vitro kinase assay. Inhibiting Akt activity by a phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor, LY294002, enlarged infarct in postconditioned rats. Postconditioning did not affect protein levels of phosphorylated-phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 or -phosphoinositide-dependent protein kinase-1 (molecules upstream of Akt) but did inhibit an increase in phosphorylated-glycogen synthase kinase 3β, an Akt effector. In addition, postconditioning blocked β-catenin phosphorylation subsequent to glycogen synthase kinase, but had no effect on total or non-phosphorylated active β-catenin protein levels. Furthermore, postconditioning inhibited increases in the amount of phosphorylated-c-Jun N-terminal kinase and extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 in the MAPK pathway. Finally, postconditioning blocked death-promoting δPKC cleavage and attenuated reduction in phosphorylation of survival-promoting εPKC. In conclusion, our data suggest that postconditioning provides long-term protection against stroke in rats. Additionally, we found that Akt activity contributes to postconditioning’s protection; furthermore, increases in εPKC activity, a survival-promoting pathway, and reductions in MAPK and δPKC activity; two putative death-promoting pathways correlate with postconditioning’s protection.
PMCID: PMC2746404  PMID: 18182053
Akt; cerebral ischemia; mitogen-activated protein kinase; postconditioning; protein kinase C; β-catenin
4.  Delayed Postconditioning Protects against Focal Ischemic Brain Injury in Rats 
PLoS ONE  2008;3(12):e3851.
We and others have reported that rapid ischemic postconditioning, interrupting early reperfusion after stroke, reduces infarction in rats. However, its extremely short therapeutic time windows, from a few seconds to minutes after reperfusion, may hinder its clinical translation. Thus, in this study we explored if delayed postconditioning, which is conducted a few hours after reperfusion, offers protection against stroke.
Methods and Results
Focal ischemia was generated by 30 min occlusion of bilateral common carotid artery (CCA) combined with permanent occlusion of middle cerebral artery (MCA); delayed postconditioning was performed by repetitive, brief occlusion and release of the bilateral CCAs, or of the ipsilateral CCA alone. As a result, delayed postconditioning performed at 3h and 6h after stroke robustly reduced infarct size, with the strongest protection achieved by delayed postconditioning with 6 cycles of 15 min occlusion/15 min release of the ipsilateral CCA executed from 6h. We found that this delayed postconditioning provided long-term protection for up to two months by reducing infarction and improving outcomes of the behavioral tests; it also attenuated reduction in 2-[18F]-fluoro-2-deoxy-D-glucose (FDG)-uptake therefore improving metabolism, and reduced edema and blood brain barrier leakage. Reperfusion in ischemic stroke patients is usually achieved by tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) application, however, t-PA's side effect may worsen ischemic injury. Thus, we tested whether delayed postconditioning counteracts the exacerbating effect of t-PA. The results showed that delayed postconditioning mitigated the worsening effect of t-PA on infarction.
Delayed postconditioning reduced ischemic injury after focal ischemia, which opens a new research avenue for stroke therapy and its underlying protective mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC2588536  PMID: 19066627
5.  Effect of morphine-induced postconditioning in corrections of tetralogy of fallot 
Results of previous reports on ischemic postconditioning in animals and humans were very encouraging. Although ischemic postconditioning possessed a wide prospect of clinical application, debates on the precise ischemic postconditioning algorithm to use in clinical settings were ongoing. In this regard, pharmacological strategies were possible alternative methods. Accumulating data demonstrated that pharmacological postconditioning with morphine conferred cardioprotection in animals. This trial aimed to evaluate the effect of morphine-induced postconditioning on protection against myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in patients undergoing corrections of Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF).
Eight-nine consecutive children scheduled for corrections of TOF were enrolled and randomly assigned to either a postconditioning group (patients received a dose of morphine (0.1 mg/kg) injected via a cardioplegia needle into the aortic root for direct and focused delivery to the heart within 1 minute starting at 3 min before aorta cross-clamp removal, n=44) or a control group (the same protocol was performed as in the postconditioning group except that patients received the same volume of saline instead, n=45). The peri-operative relevant data were investigated and analyzed, and the cardiac troponin I (cTnI) was assayed preoperatively, and then 4 h, 8 h, 12 h, 24 h and 48 h after reperfusion.
Morphine-induced postconditioning reduced postoperative peak cTnI release as compared to the control group (0.57 ± 0.15 versus 0.75 ± 0.20 ng/mL, p<0.0001). Morphine-induced postconditioned patients had lower peak inotropic score (5.7 ± 2.4 versus 8.4 ± 3.6, p<0.0001) and shorter duration of mechanical ventilation as well as ICU stay (20.6 ± 6.8 versus 28.5 ± 8.3 hours, p<0.0001 and 40.4 ± 10.3 versus 57.8 ± 15.2 hours, p<0.0001, respectively), while higher left ventricular ejection fraction as well as cardiac output (0.57±0.15 versus 0.51±0.13, p=0.0467 and 1.39 ± 0.25 versus 1.24 ± 0.21 L/min, p=0.0029, respectively) as compared to the control group during the first postoperative 24 hours.
Morphine-induced postconditioning may provide enhanced cardioprotection against ischemia/reperfusion injury in children undergoing corrections of TOF.
PMCID: PMC3666925  PMID: 23577699
Pharmacological postconditioning; Morphine; Ischemia reperfusion injury; Pediatric cardiac surgery; Trials
6.  Effects of sevoflurane preconditioning and postconditioning on rat myocardial stunning in ischemic reperfusion injury*  
Ischemic preconditioning and postconditioning distinctly attenuate ventricular arrhythmia after ischemia without affecting the severity of myocardial stunning. Therefore, we report the effects of sevoflurane preconditioning and postconditioning on stunned myocardium in isolated rat hearts. Isolated rat hearts were underwent 20 min of global ischemia and 40 min of reperfusion. After an equilibration period (20 min), the hearts in the preconditioning group were exposed to sevoflurane for 5 min and next washout for 5 min before ischemia. Hearts in the sevoflurane postconditioning group underwent equilibration and ischemia, followed immediately by sevoflurane exposure for the first 5 min of reperfusion. The control group received no treatment before and after ischemia. Left ventricular pressure, heart rate, coronary flow, electrocardiogram, and tissue histology were measured as variables of ventricular function and cellular injury, respectively. There was no significant difference in the duration of reperfusion ventricular arrhythmias between control and sevoflurane preconditioning group (P=0.195). The duration of reperfusion ventricular arrhythmias in the sevoflurane postconditioning group was significantly shorter than that in the other two groups (P<0.05). ±(dP/dt)max in the sevoflurane preconditioning group at 5, 10, 15, 20, and 30 min after reperfusion was significantly higher than that in the control group (P<0.05), and there were no significant differences at 40 min after reperfusion among the three groups (P>0.05). As expected, for a 20-min general ischemia, infarct size in heart slices determined by 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining among the groups was not obvious. Sevoflurane postconditioning reduces reperfusion arrhythmias without affecting the severity of myocardial stunning. In contrast, sevoflurane preconditioning has no beneficial effects on reperfusion arrhythmias, but it is in favor of improving ventricular function and recovering myocardial stunning. Sevoflurane preconditioning and postconditioning may be useful for correcting the stunned myocardium.
PMCID: PMC2852543  PMID: 20349523
Inhalation anesthetics; Sevoflurane; Postconditioning; Preconditioning; Ischemia-reperfusion injury; Myocardial stunning
7.  Protection of Ischemic Postconditioning against Neuronal Apoptosis Induced by Transient Focal Ischemia Is Associated with Attenuation of NF-κB/p65 Activation 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(5):e96734.
Background and Purpose
Accumulating evidences have demonstrated that nuclear factor κB/p65 plays a protective role in the protection of ischemic preconditioning and detrimental role in lethal ischemia-induced programmed cell death including apoptosis and autophagic death. However, its role in the protection of ischemic postconditioning is still unclear.
Rat MCAO model was used to produce transient focal ischemia. The procedure of ischemic postconditioning consisted of three cycles of 30 seconds reperfusion/reocclusion of MCA. The volume of cerebral infarction was measured by TTC staining and neuronal apoptosis was detected by TUNEL staining. Western blotting was used to analyze the changes in protein levels of Caspase-3, NF-κB/p65, phosphor- NF-κB/p65, IκBα, phosphor- IκBα, Noxa, Bim and Bax between rats treated with and without ischemic postconditioning. Laser scanning confocal microscopy was used to examine the distribution of NF-κB/p65 and Noxa.
Ischemic postconditioning made transient focal ischemia-induced infarct volume decrease obviously from 38.6%±5.8% to 23.5%±4.3%, and apoptosis rate reduce significantly from 46.5%±6.2 to 29.6%±5.3% at reperfusion 24 h following 2 h focal cerebral ischemia. Western blotting analysis showed that ischemic postconditioning suppressed markedly the reduction of NF-κB/p65 in cytoplasm, but elevated its content in nucleus either at reperfusion 6 h or 24 h. Moreover, the decrease of IκBα and the increase of phosphorylated IκBα and phosphorylated NF-κB/p65 at indicated reperfusion time were reversed by ischemic postconditioning. Correspondingly, proapoptotic proteins Caspase-3, cleaved Caspase-3, Noxa, Bim and Bax were all mitigated significantly by ischemic postconditioning. Confocal microscopy revealed that ischemic postconditioning not only attenuated ischemia-induced translocation of NF-κB/p65 from neuronal cytoplasm to nucleus, but also inhibited the abnormal expression of proapoptotic protein Noxa within neurons.
We demonstrated in this study that the protection of ischemic postconditioning on neuronal apoptosis caused by transient focal ischemia is associated with attenuation of the activation of NF-κB/p65 in neurons.
PMCID: PMC4011781  PMID: 24800741
8.  Cardioprotection by postconditioning in conscious rats is limited to coronary occlusions <45 min 
Brief episodes of ischemia and reperfusion after a lethal ischemic insult confer cardioprotection, a phenomenon termed “ischemic postconditioning.” However, all studies reported to date have been conducted in open-chest animal models. We sought to determine whether postconditioning occurs in conscious animals and whether it protects against severe myocardial injury.
Chronically instrumented rats were assigned to a 30- (Subset 1), 45- (Subset 2), or 60-min (Subset 3) coronary occlusion followed by 24 h of reperfusion. In each subset, rats received no further intervention (control), were preconditioned with 12 cycles of 2-min occlusion/2-min reperfusion immediately (early preconditioning; EPC) or 24 h (late preconditioning; LPC) before myocardial infarction, or were postconditioned with 20 cycles of 10-s occlusion/10-s reperfusion immediately after myocardial infarction (20-10 PostC).
With a 30-min occlusion, infarct size (54.4 ± 2.3% of risk region in control-30) was significantly reduced in EPC-30, LPC-30, and 20-10 PostC-30 groups (by 72, 70, and 47%, respectively; all P < 0.05 vs. control-30). With a 45-min occlusion, infarct size (62.2 ± 2.4% in control-45) was reduced in EPC-45 and LPC-45 groups (by 47 and 41%, respectively; all P < 0.05 vs. control-45) but not in the 20-10 PostC-45 group [55.4 ± 2.3%, P = not significant (NS) vs. control-45]. With a 60-min occlusion, infarct size (72.7 ± 2.2% in control-60) was reduced in the EPC-60 (by 20%, P < 0.05) but not in the LPC-60 (63.6 ± 2.5%, P = NS) or in the 20-20 PostC group (71.5 ± 3.4%, P = NS).
Both early and late ischemic preconditioning as well as ischemic postconditioning confer protection in conscious rats; however, unlike early preconditioning, postconditioning protects only against coronary occlusions <45 min. In the conscious rat, the cardioprotection afforded by postconditioning is limited to mild to moderate myocardial injury.
PMCID: PMC3741072  PMID: 16815986
myocardium; ischemia; infarct size; preconditioning
9.  Protection of ischemic post conditioning against transient focal ischemia-induced brain damage is associated with inhibition of neuroinflammation via modulation of TLR2 and TLR4 pathways 
Background and purpose
Ischemic postconditioning has been demonstrated to be a protective procedure to brain damage caused by transient focal ischemia/reperfusion. However, it is elusive whether the protection of postconditioning against brain damage and neuroinflammation is via regulating TLR2 and TLR4 pathways. In the present study, we examined the protection of ischemic postconditioning performed immediately prior to the recovery of cerebral blood supply on brain damage caused by various duration of ischemia and tested the hypothesis that its protection is via inhibition of neuroinflammation by modulating TLR2/TLR4 pathways.
Brain damage in rats was induced by using the middle cerebral artery occlusion (MCAO) model. Ischemic postconditioning consisting of fivecycles of ten seconds of ischemia and reperfusion was performed immediately following theischemic episode Theduration of administration of ischemic postconditioning was examined by comparing its effects on infarction volume, cerebral edema and neurological function in 2, 3, 4, 4.5and 6 hour ischemia groups. The protective mechanism of ischemic postconditioning was investigated by comparing its effects on apoptosis, production of the neurotoxic cytokine IL-1β and the transcription and expression of TLR2, TLR4 and IRAK4 in the 2 and 4.5 hour ischemia groups.
Ischemic postconditioning significantly attenuated cerebral infarction, cerebral edema and neurological dysfunction in ischemia groups of up to 4 hours duration, but not in 4.5and 6 hour ischemia groups. It also inhibited apoptosis, production of IL-1β, abnormal transcription and expression of TLR2, TLR4 and IRAK4 in the 2 hour ischemia group, but not in the 4.5 hour ischemia group.
Ischemic postconditioning protected brain damage caused by 2, 3 and 4 hours of ischemia, but not by 4.5 and 6 hours of ischemia. The protection of ischemic postconditioning is associated with its inhibition of neuroinflammation via inhibition of TLR2 and TLR4 pathways.
PMCID: PMC3908918  PMID: 24460643
Ischemic postconditioning; Cerebral ischemia/reperfusion; TLR2; TLR4; Neuroinflammation
10.  Remote postconditioning by humoral factors in effluent from ischemic preconditioned rat hearts is mediated via PI3K/Akt-dependent cell-survival signaling at reperfusion 
Basic Research in Cardiology  2010;106(1):135-145.
Short non-lethal ischemic episodes administered to hearts prior to (ischemic preconditioning, IPC) or directly after (ischemic postconditioning, IPost) ischemic events facilitate myocardial protection. Transferring coronary effluent collected during IPC treatment to un-preconditioned recipient hearts protects from lethal ischemic insults. We propose that coronary IPC effluent contains hydrophobic cytoprotective mediators acting via PI3K/Akt-dependent pro-survival signaling at ischemic reperfusion. Ex vivo rat hearts were subjected to 30 min of regional ischemia and 120 min of reperfusion. IPC effluent administered for 10 min prior to index ischemia attenuated infarct size by ≥55% versus control hearts (P < 0.05). Effluent administration for 10 min at immediate reperfusion (reperfusion therapy) or as a mimetic of pharmacological postconditioning (remote postconditioning, RIPost) significantly reduced infarct size compared to control (P < 0.05). The IPC effluent significantly increased Akt phosphorylation in un-preconditioned hearts when administered before ischemia or at reperfusion, while pharmacological inhibition of PI3K/Akt-signaling at reperfusion completely abrogated the cardioprotection offered by effluent administration. Fractionation of coronary IPC effluent revealed that cytoprotective humoral mediator(s) released during the conditioning phase were of hydrophobic nature as all hydrophobic fractions with molecules under 30 kDa significantly reduced infarct size versus the control and hydrophilic fraction-treated hearts (P < 0.05). The total hydrophobic effluent fraction significantly reduced infarct size independently of temporal administration (before ischemia, at reperfusion or as remote postconditioning). In conclusion, the IPC effluent retains strong cardioprotective properties, containing hydrophobic mediator(s) < 30 kDa offering cytoprotection via PI3K/Akt-dependent signaling at ischemic reperfusion.
PMCID: PMC3012213  PMID: 21103992
Postconditioning; Preconditioning; Cardioprotection; Ischemia; Reperfusion; Akt
11.  Isoflurane postconditioning reduces ischemia-induced nuclear factor-κB activation and interleukin 1β production to provide neuroprotection in rats and mice 
Neurobiology of disease  2013;54:216-224.
Application of isoflurane, a volatile anesthetic, after brain ischemia can reduce ischemic brain injury in rodents (isoflurane postconditioning). This study is designed to determine whether isoflurane postconditioning improves long-term neurological outcome after focal brain ischemia and whether this protection is mediated by attenuating neuroinflammation. Adult male Sprague–Dawley rats were subjected to a 90-min middle cerebral arterial occlusion (MCAO). Isoflurane postconditioning was performed by exposing rats to 2% isoflurane for 60 min immediately after the MCAO. Isoflurane postconditioning reduced brain infarct volumes, apoptotic cells in the ischemic penumbral brain tissues and neurological deficits of rats at 4 weeks after the MCAO. Isoflurane postconditioning reduced brain ischemia/reperfusion-induced nuclear transcription factor (NF)-κB (NF-κB) activation as well as interleukin 1β (IL-1β) and interleukin-6 production in the ischemic penumbral brain tissues at 24 h after the MCAO. IL-1β deficient mice had smaller brain infarct volumes and better neurological functions than wild-type mice at 24 h after a 90-min focal brain ischemia. Isoflurane posttreatment failed to induce neuroprotection in the IL-1β deficient mice. Our results suggest that isoflurane postconditioning improved long-term neurological outcome after transient focal brain ischemia. This protection may be mediated by inhibiting NF-κB activation and the production of the proinflammatory cytokine IL-1β.
PMCID: PMC3628970  PMID: 23313315
interleukin 1β; isoflurane; neuroprotection; nuclear factor-κB; postconditioning
12.  Isoflurane induces a postconditioning effect on bovine pulmonary arterial endothelial cells exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation 
European journal of pharmacology  2009;615(1-3):144-149.
Application of volatile anesthetics during the onset of reperfusion reduced ischemia-induced cardiac and brain injury (anesthetic postconditioning). This study was designed to evaluate whether volatile anesthetics induced a postconditioning effect in endothelial cells. Bovine pulmonary arterial endothelial cell (BPAEC) cultures were exposed to oxygen-glucose deprivation, a condition to simulate ischemia in vitro, for 3 h. The volatile anesthetics isoflurane and desflurane were applied during the early phase of simulated reperfusion. Cell injury was quantified by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release and flow cytometrical measurement after annexin V and propidium iodide staining. Oxygen-glucose deprivation and the subsequent simulated reperfusion increased LDH release and annexin V-positive staining cells, a characteristic of cell apoptosis. Posttreatment with isoflurane, but not desflurane, reduced this cell injury. This protection was apparent even when 2% isoflurane was applied at 60 min after the onset of reperfusion. The isoflurane postconditioning effect was abolished by glybenclamide, a general ATP sensitive K+ (KATP) channel blocker, 5-hydroxydecanoate, a mitochondrial KATP channel blocker, and chelerythrine, a protein kinase C inhibitor. Diazoxide, a mitochondrial KATP channel activator, applied at the onset of reperfusion also decreased oxygen-glucose deprivation-induced endothelial cell injury. This diazoxide-induced protection was abolished by chelerythrine and 5-hydroxydecanoate. We conclude that isoflurane induced a postconditioning effect in BPAEC. The effective time window of isoflurane postconditioning was from 0 to 60 min after the onset of reperfusion. This isoflurane postconditioning effect may be mediated by mitochondrial KATP channels and PKC. PKC may be downstream of mitochondrial KATP channels for this isoflurane effect.
PMCID: PMC2737523  PMID: 19464284
endothelial cells; postconditioning; volatile anesthetics
13.  Pharmacological postconditioning with diazoxide attenuates ischemia/reperfusion-induced injury in rat liver 
It has been demonstrated that ischemic postconditioning (IPO) is capable of attenuating ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in the heart. However, the novel role of pharmacological postconditioning in the liver remains unclear. In this study, the hypothesis that diazoxide postconditioning reduces I/R-induced injury in rat liver was tested. Rats were assigned randomly to the sham-operated control, I/R (occlusion of the porta hepatis for 60 min, followed by a persistent reperfusion for 120 min), diazoxide ischemic postconditioning (DIPO; occlusion of the porta hepatis for 60 min, then treatment with diazoxide for 10 min reperfusion, followed by a persistent reperfusion for 110 min) or 5-hydroxydecanoate (5-HD)+DIPO (occlusion of the porta hepatis for 60 min, then treatment with diazoxide and 5-HD for 10 min reperfusion, followed by a persistent reperfusion for 110 min) groups. The alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate transaminase (AST) levels were assayed. The expression levels of protein kinase c-ε (pkc-ε), cytochrome c (cyt-c), caspase-3 and bcl-2 protein were determined by western blotting. The serum levels of ALT and AST and expression levels of cyt-c and caspase-3 were significantly lower in the DIPO group (P<0.05). However, the protein expression levels of pkc-ε and bcl-2 were markedly increased in the DIPO group (P<0.05). 5-HD abrogated the protective effects of DIPO. The data of the present study provide the first evidence that DIPO protects the liver from I/R injury by opening the mitochondrial KATP channels, activating and upregulating pkc-ε and inhibiting the activation of the apoptotic pathway by decreasing the release of cyt-c and the expression of caspase-3 and increasing bcl-2 expression.
PMCID: PMC3627466  PMID: 23596486
diazoxide; ischemic postconditioning; reperfusion injury; liver
14.  Post-conditioning with gradually increased reperfusion provides better cardioprotection in rats 
Rapid and complete reperfusion has been widely adopted in the treatment of patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI), but this process sometimes can cause severe reperfusion injury. This study aimed to investigate different patterns of post-conditioning in acute myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, and to detect the role of mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) during the injury.
Rats were randomly divided into five groups: sham group, reperfusion injury (R/ I) group, gradually decreased reperfusion group (GDR group, 30/10-25/15-15/25-10/30 seconds of reperfusion/ischemia), equal reperfusion group (ER group, 20/20 seconds reperfusion/ischemia, 4 cycles), and gradually increased reperfusion group (GIR group, 10/30-15/25-25/15-30/10 seconds of reperfusion/ischemia). Acute myocardial infarction and ischemic post-conditioning models were established in the rats. Six hours after reperfusion, 3 rats from each group were sacrificed and myocardial tissues were taken to measure the expressions of phosphorylation of extracellular signal-regulated protein kinase (P-ERK), phosphorylated c-Jun N-terminal kinase (P-JNK), mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 (p38 MAPK), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), caspases-8 in the myocardial tissue, and cytochrome c in the cytosol using Western blot. Hemodynamics was measured at 24 hours after reperfusion, the blood was drawn for the determination of cardiac enzymes, and the heart tissue was collected for the measurement of apoptosis using TUNEL. One-way analysis of variance and the Q test were employed to determine differences in individual variables between the 5 groups.
Three post-conditioning patterns were found to provide cardioprotection (P<0.05) compared with R/I without postconditioning. GIR provided the best cardioprotection effect, followed by ER and then GDR. Apoptotic index and serum marker levels were reduced more significantly in GIR than in ER (P<0.05). The enhanced cardioprotection provided by GIR was accompanied with significantly increased levels of P-ERK 1/2 (1.82±0.22 vs. 1.54±0.32, P<0.05), and lower levels of p-JNK, p38 MAPK, TNF-α, caspase-8, caspase-9 and cytochrome in the cytoplasm (P<0.05), compared with ER. The infarct size was smaller in the GIR group than in the ER group, but this difference was not significant (16.30%±5.22% vs. 20.57%±6.32%, P<0.05). All the measured variables were improved more significantly in the GIR group than in the GDR group (P<0.05).
Gradually increased reperfusion in post-conditioning could attenuate reperfusion injury more significantly than routine method, thereby the MAPK pathway plays an important role in this process.
PMCID: PMC4129876  PMID: 25215162
Ischemia-reperfusion injury; Postconditioning; Apoptosis
15.  Sevoflurane postconditioning reduces myocardial reperfusion injury in rat isolated hearts via activation of PI3K/Akt signaling and modulation of Bcl-2 family proteins*  
Sevoflurane postconditioning reduces myocardial infarct size. The objective of this study was to examine the role of the phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway in anesthetic postconditioning and to determine whether PI3K/Akt signaling modulates the expression of pro- and antiapoptotic proteins in sevoflurane postconditioning. Isolated and perfused rat hearts were prepared first, and then randomly assigned to the following groups: Sham-operation (Sham), ischemia/reperfusion (Con), sevoflurane postconditioning (SPC), Sham plus 100 nmol/L wortmannin (Sham+Wort), Con+Wort, SPC+Wort, and Con+dimethylsulphoxide (DMSO). Sevoflurane postconditioning was induced by administration of sevoflurane (2.5%, v/v) for 10 min from the onset of reperfusion. Left ventricular developed pressure (LVDP), left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP), maximum increase in rate of LVDP (+dP/dt), maximum decrease in rate of LVDP (−dP/dt), heart rate (HR), and coronary flow (CF) were measured at baseline, R30 min (30 min of reperfusion), R60 min, R90 min, and R120 min. Creatine kinase (CK) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) were measured after 5 min and 10 min reperfusion. Infarct size was determined by triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining at the end of reperfusion. Total Akt and phosphorylated Akt (phospho-Akt), Bax, Bcl-2, Bad, and phospho-Bad were determined by Western blot analysis. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) and Student-Newman-Keuls’ test were used to investigate the significance of differences between groups. The LVDP, ±dP/dt, and CF were higher and LVEDP was lower in the SPC group than in the Con group at all points of reperfusion (P<0.05). The SPC group had significantly reduced CK and LDH release and decreased infarct size compared with the Con group [(22.9±8)% vs. (42.4±9.4)%, respectively; P<0.05]. The SPC group also had increased the expression of phosphor-Akt, Bcl-2, and phospho-Bad, and decreased the expression of Bax. Wortmannin abolished the cardioprotection of sevoflurane postconditioning. Sevoflurane postconditioning may protect the isolated rat heart. Activation of PI3K and modulation of the expression of pro- and antiapoptotic proteins may play an important role in sevoflurane-induced myocardial protection.
PMCID: PMC2932876  PMID: 20803770
Sevoflurane; Postconditioning; Cardioprotection; Akt; Bcl-2; Bad
16.  Ischemia/reperfusion injury and cardioprotective mechanisms: Role of mitochondria and reactive oxygen species 
World Journal of Cardiology  2011;3(6):186-200.
Reperfusion therapy must be applied as soon as possible to attenuate the ischemic insult of acute myocardial infarction (AMI). However reperfusion is responsible for additional myocardial damage, which likely involves opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP). In reperfusion injury, mitochondrial damage is a determining factor in causing loss of cardiomyocyte function and viability. Major mechanisms of mitochondrial dysfunction include the long lasting opening of mPTPs and the oxidative stress resulting from formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Several signaling cardioprotective pathways are activated by stimuli such as preconditioning and postconditioning, obtained with brief intermittent ischemia or with pharmacological agents. These pathways converge on a common target, the mitochondria, to preserve their function after ischemia/reperfusion. The present review discusses the role of mitochondria in cardioprotection, especially the involvement of adenosine triphosphate-dependent potassium channels, ROS signaling, and the mPTP. Ischemic postconditioning has emerged as a new way to target the mitochondria, and to drastically reduce lethal reperfusion injury. Several clinical studies using ischemic postconditioning during angioplasty now support its protective effects, and an interesting alternative is pharmacological postconditioning. In fact ischemic postconditioning and the mPTP desensitizer, cyclosporine A, have been shown to induce comparable protection in AMI patients.
PMCID: PMC3139040  PMID: 21772945
Adenosine triphosphate-dependent potassium channels; Cardioprotection; Ischemia-reperfusion injury; Mitochondrial permeability transition pore; Reactive oxygen species
Brain research  2010;1358:184-190.
The volatile anesthetic isoflurane is capable of inducing preconditioning and postconditioning effects in the brain. However, the mechanisms for these neuroprotective effects are not fully understood. Here, we showed that rat hippocampal neuronal cultures exposed to 2% isoflurane for 30 min at 24 h before a 1-h oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD) and a 24-h simulated reperfusion had a reduced lactate dehydrogenase release. Similarly, this OGD and simulated reperfusion-induced lactate dehydrogenase release was attenuated by exposing the neuronal cultures to 2% isoflurane for 1 h at various times after the onset of the simulated reperfusion (isoflurane postconditioning). The combination of isoflurane preconditioning and postconditioning induced a better neuroprotection than either alone. Inhibition of the calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), inhibition of N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors, or activation of adenosine A2A receptors resulted in reduction of the OGD and simulated reperfusion-induced cell injury. The combination of CaMKII inhibition and isoflurane preconditioning or postconditioning did not provide better protection than CaMKII inhibition, isoflurane preconditioning, or isoflurane postconditioning alone. The combination of NMDA receptor inhibition and isoflurane postconditioning was not better than NMDA receptor inhibition or isoflurane postconditioning alone for neuroprotection. However, the combination of adenosine A2A receptor activation with either isoflurane preconditioning or isoflurane postconditioning induced a better neuroprotective effect than adenosine A2A receptor activation, isoflurane preconditioning, or isoflurane postconditioning alone. The combination of NMDA receptor inhibition and isoflurane preconditioning caused a better neuroprotective effect than NMDA receptor inhibition or isoflurane preconditioning alone. These results suggest that isoflurane preconditioning- and postconditioning-induced neuroprotection can be additive. Isoflurane preconditioning and isoflurane postconditioning may involve CaMKII inhibition, but may not involve adenosine A2A receptor activation. Inhibition of NMDA receptors may mediate the effects of isoflurane postconditioning, but not isoflurane preconditioning.
PMCID: PMC2949531  PMID: 20709037
calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II; isoflurane; neuron; preconditioning; postconditioning
18.  Remote Limb Ischemic Postconditioning Protects Against Neonatal Hypoxic–Ischemic Brain Injury in Rat Pups by the Opioid Receptor/Akt Pathway 
Background and Purpose
Remote ischemic postconditoning, a phenomenon in which brief ischemic stimuli of 1 organ protect another organ against an ischemic insult, has been demonstrated to protect the myocardium and adult brain in animal models. However, mediators of the protection and underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In the present study, we tested the hypothesis that remote limb ischemic postconditioning applied immediately after hypoxia provides neuroprotection in a rat model of neonatal hypoxia–ischemia (HI) by mechanisms involving activation of the opioid receptor/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway.
HI was induced in postnatal Day 10 rat pups by unilateral carotid ligation and 2 hours of hypoxia. Limb ischemic postconditioning was induced by 4 conditioning cycles of 10 minutes of ischemia and reperfusion on both hind limbs immediately after HI. The opioid antagonist naloxone, phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase inhibitor wortmannin, or opioid agonist morphine was administered to determine underlying mechanisms. Infarct volume, brain atrophy, and neurological outcomes after HI were evaluated. Expression of phosphorylated Akt, Bax, and phosphorylated ERK1/2 was determined by Western blotting.
Limb ischemic postconditioning significantly reduced infarct volume at 48 hours and improved functional outcomes at 4 weeks after HI. Naloxone and wortmannin abrogated the postconditioning-mediated infarct-limiting effect. Morphine given immediately after hypoxia also decreased infarct volume. Furthermore, limb ischemic postconditioning recovered Akt activity and decreased Bax expression, whereas no differences in phosphorylated ERK1/2expression were observed.
Limb ischemic postconditioning protects against neonatal HI brain injury in rats by activating the opioid receptor/phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt signaling pathway.
PMCID: PMC3703505  PMID: 21183744
Akt; limb ischemic postconditioning; neonatal hypoxia–ischemia; opioid receptor
19.  Ischemic postconditioning may not influence early brain injury induced by focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion in rats 
Korean Journal of Anesthesiology  2010;58(2):176-183.
Experimental studies have shown that ischemic postconditioning can reduce neuronal injury in the setting of cerebral ischemia, but the mechanisms are not yet clearly elucidated. This study was conducted to determine whether ischemic postconditioning can alter expression of heat shock protein 70 and reduce acute phase neuronal injury in rats subjected to transient focal cerebral ischemia/reperfusion.
Focal cerebral ischemia was induced by intraluminal middle cerebral artery occlusion for 60 min in twenty male Sprague-Dawley rats (250-300 g). Rats were randomized into control group and an ischemic postconditioning group (10 rats per group). The animals of control group had no intervention either before or after MCA occlusion. Ischemic postconditioning was elicited by 3 cycles of 30 s reperfusion interspersed by 10 s ischemia immediately after onset of reperfusion. The infarct ratios, brain edema ratios and motor behavior deficits were analyzed 24 hrs after ischemic insult. Caspase-3 reactive cells and cells showing heat shock protein 70 activity were counted in the caudoputamen and frontoparietal cortex.
Ischemic postconditiong did not reduce infarct size and brain edema ratios compared to control group. Neurologic scores were not significantly different between groups. The number of caspase-3 reactive cells in the ischemic postconditioning group was not significantly different than the value of the control group in the caudoputamen and frontoparietal cortex. The number of cells showing heat shock protein 70 activity was not significantly different than the control group, as well.
These results suggest that ischemic postconditioning may not influence the early brain damage induced by focal cerebral ischemia in rats.
PMCID: PMC2872862  PMID: 20498797
Focal cerebral ischemia; Neuroproctection; Postconditioning; Rat
20.  Dexmedetomidine preconditioning ameliorates kidney ischemia-reperfusion injury 
Kidney ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury is a common cause of acute kidney injury. We tested whether dexmedetomidine (Dex), an alpha2 adrenoceptor (α2-AR) agonist, protects against kidney I/R injury. Sprague–Dawley rats were divided into four groups: (1) Sham-operated group; (2) I/R group (40 min ischemia followed by 24 h reperfusion); (3) I/R group + Dex (1 μg/kg i.v. 60 min before the surgery), (4) I/R group + Dex (10 μg/kg). The effects of Dex postconditiong (Dex 1 or 10 μg/kg i.v. after reperfusion) as well as the effects of peripheral α2-AR agonism with fadolmidine were also examined. Hemodynamic effects were monitored, renal function measured, and acute tubular damage along with monocyte/macrophage infiltration scored. Kidney protein kinase B, toll like receptor 4, light chain 3B, p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (p38 MAPK), sirtuin 1, adenosine monophosphate kinase (AMPK), and endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) expressions were measured, and kidney transciptome profiles analyzed. Dex preconditioning, but not postconditioning, attenuated I/R injury-induced renal dysfunction, acute tubular necrosis and inflammatory response. Neither pre- nor postconditioning with fadolmidine protected kidneys. Dex decreased blood pressure more than fadolmidine, ameliorated I/R-induced impairment of autophagy and increased renal p38 and eNOS expressions. Dex downregulated 245 and upregulated 61 genes representing 17 enriched Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) pathways, in particular, integrin pathway and CD44. Ingenuity analysis revealed inhibition of Rac and nuclear factor (erythroid-derived 2)-like 2 pathways, whereas aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) pathway was activated. Dex preconditioning ameliorates kidney I/R injury and inflammatory response, at least in part, through p38-CD44-pathway and possibly also through ischemic preconditioning.
PMCID: PMC4186414  PMID: 25505591
Acute kidney injury; AHR; CD44; dexmedetomidine; fadolmidine; ischemia/reperfusion injury; NRF2; p38; Rac
21.  Ischemic postconditioning protects cardiomyocytes against ischemia/reperfusion injury by inducing MIP2 
Experimental & Molecular Medicine  2011;43(8):437-445.
Cardiomyocytes can resist ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury through ischemic postconditioning (IPoC) which is repetitive ischemia induced during the onset of reperfusion. Myocardial ischemic preconditioning up-regulated protein 2 (MIP2) is a member of the WD-40 family proteins, we previously showed that MIP2 was up-regulated during ischemic preconditioning (IPC). As IPC and IPoC engaged similar molecular mechanisms in cardioprotection, this study aimed to elucidate whether MIP2 was up-regulated during IPoC and contributed to IPoC-mediated protection against I/R injury. The experiment was conducted on two models, an in vivo open chest rat coronary artery occlusion model and an in vitro model with H9c2 myogenic cells. In both models, 3 groups were constituted and randomly designated as the sham, I/R and IPoC/hypoxia postconditioning (HPoC) groups. In the IPoC group, after 45 min of ischemia, hearts were allowed three cycles of reperfusion/ischemia phases (each of 30 s duration) followed by reperfusion. In the HPoC group, after 6 h of hypoxia, H9c2 cells were subjected to three cycles of 10 minute reoxygenation and 10 minute hypoxia followed by reoxygenation. IPoC significantly reduced the infarct size, plasma level of Lactate dehydrogenase and creatine kinase MB in rats. 12 h after the reperfusion, MIP2 mRNA levels in the IPoC group were 10 folds that of the sham group and 1.4 folds that of the I/R group. Increased expression of MIP2 mRNA and attenuation of apoptosis were similarly observed in the HPoC group in the in vitro model. These effects were blunted by transfection with MIP2 siRNA in the H9c2 cells. This study demonstrated that IPoC induced protection was associated with increased expression of MIP2. Both MIP2 overexpression and MIP2 suppression can influence the IPoC induced protection.
PMCID: PMC3174377  PMID: 21654187
ischemic preconditioning, myocardial; myocardial ischemia; myocardial reperfusion; reperfusion injury
22.  Quercetin postconditioning attenuates myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury in rats through the PI3K/Akt pathway 
Quercetin (Que), a plant-derived flavonoid, has multiple benefical actions on the cardiovascular system. The current study investigated whether Que postconditioning has any protective effects on myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in vivo and its potential cardioprotective mechanisms. Male Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly allocated to 5 groups (20 animals/group): sham, I/R, Que postconditioning, Que+LY294002 [a phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt signaling pathway inhibitor], and LY294002+I/R. I/R was produced by 30-min coronary occlusion followed by 2-h reperfusion. At the end of reperfusion, myocardial infarct size and biochemical changes were compared. Apoptosis was evaluated by both TUNEL staining and measurement of activated caspase-3 immunoreactivity. The phosphorylation of Akt and protein expression of Bcl-2 and Bax were determined by Western blotting. Que postconditioning significantly reduced infarct size and serum levels of creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase compared with the I/R group (all P<0.05). Apoptotic cardiomyocytes and caspase-3 immunoreactivity were also suppressed in the Que postconditioning group compared with the I/R group (both P<0.05). Akt phosphorylation and Bcl-2 expression increased after Que postconditioning, but Bax expression decreased. These effects were inhibited by LY294002. The data indicate that Que postconditioning can induce cardioprotection by activating the PI3K/Akt signaling pathway and modulating the expression of Bcl-2 and Bax proteins.
PMCID: PMC3854307  PMID: 24068165
Ischemia and reperfusion; Quercetin; Postconditioning; PI3K/Akt
23.  Protection of the ischemic myocardium during the reperfusion: between hope and reality 
The heart is an organ that requires an important energy input to ensure its contractile function. Myocardial ischemia happens when there is a deficiency of blood flow that is responsible for the passage from an aerobic to anaerobic metabolism. Myocardial ischemia results from an imbalance between inputs and the needs of nutrient and oxygen to the myocardium. The restoration of myocardial perfusion called reperfusion is a way to save the ischemic myocardium. However, although reperfusion is beneficial for the survival of the ischemic myocardium, it also induces a deleterious effect in addition to that of ischemic stress. Three decade ago, while several studies, strived to elucidate the protective effect of preconditioning, a phenomenon performed before ischemia and having a powerful protective effects against ischemia/reperfusion injury, very few have believed in the possibility of protecting the myocardium after ischemia (during reperfusion). Actually, both ischemic and pharmacological postconditioning as well as controlled reperfusion methods to protect the ischemic heart have proved effective in the reduction of damage related to ischemia/reperfusion. The possibility of protecting the myocardium during reperfusion opens a new area in the research against damage caused by ischemia/reperfusion because these methods are easily transferable in a clinic setting.
PMCID: PMC3427983  PMID: 22937492
Ischemia; reperfusion injury; heart; preconditioning; postconditioning and controlled reperfusion
24.  Volatile anesthetic post-treatment induces protection via inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3β in human neuron-like cells 
Neuroscience  2011;179:73-79.
Application of the volatile anesthetic isoflurane during the early phase of reperfusion reduces ischemic heart and brain injury (anesthetic postconditioning). We hypothesize that inhibition of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), a protein whose activation can lead to cell death, participates in anesthetic postconditioning-induced neuroprotection. SH-SY5Y cells, a human neuroblastoma cell line, were induced by retinoic acid to differentiate into terminal neuron-like cells. The cells then were subjected to a 1-h oxygen-glucose deprivation (OGD), a condition to simulate ischemia in vitro, and a 20-h simulated reperfusion. Isoflurane, sevoflurane or desflurane, three commonly used volatile anesthetics, was applied for 1 h during the early phase of simulated reperfusion. Cell injury was quantified by lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) release. Phospho-GSK3β at Ser9 and total GSK3β were quantified at 1 or 3 h after the OGD. OGD increased LDH release, suggesting that OGD induced cell injury. Post-treatment with isoflurane, sevoflurane or desflurane reduced this cell injury. This protection was apparent when 2% isoflurane was applied within 1 h after the onset of reperfusion. Isoflurane post-treatment also significantly increased the phosphorylation of GSK3β at Ser9 at 1 h after the OGD. GSK3β inhibitors reduced OGD and simulated reperfusion-induced LDH release. The combination of GSK3β inhibitors and isoflurane postconditioning did not cause a greater protection than isoflurane postconditioning alone. These results suggest that volatile anesthetic postconditioning reduces OGD and simulated reperfusion-induced cell injury. Since phospho-GSK3β at Ser9 decreases GSK3β activity, our results suggest that volatile anesthetic postconditioning in human neuron-like cells may be mediated by GSK3β inhibition.
PMCID: PMC3059391  PMID: 21277352
glycogen synthase kinase 3β; human neuron-like cell; neuroprotection; postconditioning; volatile anesthetics
25.  Postconditioning in major vascular surgery: prevention of renal failure 
Postconditioning is a novel reperfusion technique to reduce ischemia-reperfusion injuries. The aim of the study was to investigate this method in an animal model of lower limb revascularization for purpose of preventing postoperative renal failure.
Bilateral lower limb ischemia was induced in male Wistar rats for 3 hours by infrarenal aorta clamping under narcosis. Revascularization was allowed by declamping the aorta. Postconditioning (additional 10 sec reocclusion, 10 sec reperfusion in 6 cycles) was induced at the onset of revascularization. Myocyte injury and renal function changes were assessed 4, 24 and 72 hours postoperatively. Hemodynamic monitoring was performed by invasive arterial blood pressure registering and a kidney surface laser Doppler flowmeter.
Muscle viability studies showed no significant improvement with the use of postconditioning in terms of ischemic rhabdomyolysis (4 h: ischemia-reperfusion (IR) group: 42.93 ± 19.20% vs. postconditioned (PostC) group: 43.27 ± 27.13%). At the same time, renal functional laboratory tests and kidney myoglobin immunohistochemistry demonstrated significantly less expressed kidney injury in postconditioned animals (renal failure index: 4 h: IR: 2.37 ± 1.43 mM vs. PostC: 0.92 ± 0.32 mM; 24 h: IR: 1.53 ± 0.45 mM vs. PostC: 0.77 ± 0.34 mM; 72 h: IR: 1.51 ± 0.36 mM vs. PostC: 0.43 ± 0.28 mM), while systemic hemodynamics and kidney microcirculation significantly improved (calculated reperfusion area: IR: 82.31 ± 12.23% vs. PostC: 99.01 ± 2.76%), and arterial blood gas analysis showed a lesser extent systemic acidic load after revascularization (a defined relative base excess parameter: 1st s: IR: 2.25 ± 1.14 vs. PostC: 1.80 ± 0.66; 2nd s: IR: 2.14 ± 1.44 vs. PostC: 2.44 ± 1.14, 3rd s: IR: 3.99 ± 3.09 vs. PostC: 2.07 ± 0.82; 4th s: IR: 3.28 ± 0.32 vs. PostC: 2.05 ± 0.56).
The results suggest a protective role for postconditioning in major vascular surgeries against renal complications through a possible alternative release of nephrotoxic agents and exerting a positive effect on hemodynamic stability.
PMCID: PMC4314807  PMID: 25622967
Myoglobinuria; Postconditioning; Renal microcirculation; HSP72

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