Pretreatment with Vildagliptin Boosts Ischemic-Postconditioning Effects on Cardio Protection and Expression Profile of Genes Regulating Autophagy and Mitochondrial Fission/Fusion in Diabetic Heart with Reperfusion Injury

The burden of myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (IR) injury is 2-3-folds higher in diabetic patients, so protecting diabetic hearts is clinically important. Here, we investigated the effect of combinational therapy with vildagliptin and ischemic postconditioning (IPostC) on cardioprotection and the expression of genes regulating autophagy and mitochondrial function in diabetic hearts with IR injury. Type 2 diabetes was induced through high-fat diet and streptozotocin protocol in Wistar rats. Vildagliptin was orally administered to diabetic rats 5 weeks before IR injury. Myocardial-IR injury was modeled by ligation of left the coronary artery for 30 min followed by 60-min reperfusion, on a Langendorff-perfusion system. IPostC was applied at early reperfusion as 6 alternative cycles of 10-s reperfusion/ischemia. Creatine-kinase levels were measured spectrometrically, and infarct size was evaluated by TTC staining method. Left ventricles were harvested for assessing the expression levels of autophagy and mitochondrial-related genes using real-time PCR. Induction of diabetes significantly increased creatine-kinase release in comparison to healthy rats, and all treatments significantly reduced the release of enzyme toward control levels (P < 0.05). Only the combination therapy (IPostC + vildagliptin) could significantly reduce the infarct size of diabetic hearts as compared to untreated diabetic-IR group (P < 0.01). The levels of autophagy genes LC3 and p62 were significantly higher in diabetic groups than healthy ones. Induction of IR injury in diabetic hearts enhanced mitochondrial fission (drp-1) and reduced mitochondrial fusion (mfn1 and mfn2) genes. IPostC alone had no significant effect on the gene expression and vildagliptin alone could only affect LC3-II and mfn2 expressions. Nevertheless, administration of combination therapy significantly reduced the expression of both autophagy genes and increased both LC3-II/I and mfn2/1 ratios as compared with diabetic-IR hearts (P < 0.01-0.05). Application of this combination therapy could overcome the diabetes-induced failure of cardio protection by individual treatments and improve mitochondrial dynamic and autophagy flux.