METHODS AND RESULTS:
The purpose of this study was to observe the effects of Salvianolic acid A (SAA) pretreatment on the myocardium during ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) and to illuminate the interrelationships among dual specificity protein phosphatase (DUSP) 2/4/16, ERK1/2 and JNK pathways during myocardial I/R, with the ultimate goal of elucidating how SAA exerts cardioprotection against I/R injury (IRI). Wistar rats were divided into the following six groups: control group (CON), I/R group, SAA+I/R group, ERK1/2 inhibitor PD098059+I/R group (PD+I/R), PD+SAA+I/R group, and JNK inhibitor SP600125+I/R group (SP+I/R). The cardioprotective effects of SAA on the myocardium during I/R were investigated with a Langendorff device. Heart rate (HR), left ventricular systolic pressure (LVSP), left ventricular end-diastolic pressure (LVEDP), maximum rate of ventricular pressure rise and fall (±dp/dtmax), myocardial infarction areas (MIA), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and cardiomyocytes apoptosis were monitored. To determine the crosstalk betwee JNK and ERK1/2 via DUSP2/4/16 with SAA pretreatment, siRNA-DUSP2/4/16 were performed. The expression levels of Bcl-2, Bax, caspase 3, p-JNK, p-ERK1/2 and DUSP2/4/16 in cardiomyocytes were assayed by Western blot. Our results showed that LDH, MIA and cell apoptosis were decreased, and various parameters of heart function were improved by SAA pretreatment and SP application. In the I/R group, the expression levels of p-ERK1/2 and DUSP4/16 were not significantly different compared with the CON group, however, the protein expression levels of p-ERK1/2, Bcl-2 and DUSP4/16 were higher, while p-JNK, Bax, caspase 3 and DUSP2 levels were reduced among the SAA+I/R, PD+SAA+I/R and SP+I/R groups. The above indices were not significantly different between the SAA+I/R and SP+I/R groups. Compared with the SAA+I/R group, p-ERK1/2 was increased and p-JNK was decreased in the SAA+si-DUSP2+I/R, however, p-ERK was downregulated and p-JNK was upregulated in SAA+si-DUSP4+I/R group.
SAA exerts an anti-apoptotic role against myocardial IRI by inhibiting DUSP2-mediated JNK dephosphorylation and activating DUSP4/16-mediated ERK1/2 phosphorylation.