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It has been demonstrated that tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) via its receptor 2 (TNFR2) plays a role in the cardioprotective effects of preconditioning. It is also well known that chronic hypoxia is associated with activation of inflammatory response. With this background, we hypothesized that TNF-α signalling may contribute to the improved ischaemic tolerance of chronically hypoxic hearts.Adult male Wistar rats were kept either at room air (normoxic controls) or at continuous normobaric hypoxia (CNH; inspired O2 fraction 0.1) for 3 weeks; subgroups of animals were treated with infliximab (monoclonal antibody against TNF-α; 5 mg kg−1, i.p., once a week). Myocardial levels of oxidative stress markers and the expression of selected signalling molecules were analysed. Infarct size (tetrazolium staining) was assessed in open-chest rats subjected to acute coronary artery occlusion/reperfusion.CNH increased myocardial TNF-α level and expression of TNFR2; this response was abolished by infliximab treatment. CNH reduced myocardial infarct size from 50.8 ± 4.3% of the area at risk in normoxic animals to 35.5 ± 2.4%. Infliximab abolished the protective effect of CNH (44.9 ± 2.0%). CNH increased the levels of oxidative stress markers (3-nitrotyrosine and malondialdehyde), the expression of nuclear factor κB and manganese superoxide dismutase, while these effects were absent in infliximab-treated animals. CNH-elevated levels of inducible nitric oxide synthase and cyclooxygenase 2 were not affected by infliximab.TNF-α plays a role in the induction of ischaemia-resistant cardiac phenotype of CNH rats, possibly via the activation of protective redox signalling.