Clinical and experimental studies suggest that pharmacological postconditioning with Cyclosporin A (CsA) reduces infarct size in cardiac ischemia and reperfusion. CsA interacts with Cyclophilin D (CypD) preventing opening of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP). Tissue kallikrein (TK) and its products kinins are involved in cardioprotection in ischemia. CypD knockout mice are resistant to the cardioprotective effects of both CsA and kinins suggesting common mechanisms of action. Using TK gene knockout mice, we investigated whether the kallikrein-kinin system is involved in the cardioprotective effect of CsA.
Homozygote and heterozygote TK deficient mice (TK−/−, TK+/−) and wild type littermates (TK+/+) were subjected to cardiac ischemia–reperfusion with and without CsA postconditioning. CsA reduced infarct size in TK+/+ mice but had no effect in TK+/− and TK−/− mice. Cardiac mitochondria isolated from TK−/− mice had indistinguishable basal oxidative phosphorylation and calcium retention capacity compared to TK+/+ mice but were resistant to CsA inhibition of mPTP opening. TK activity was documented in mouse heart and rat cardiomyoblasts mitochondria. By proximity ligation assay TK was found in close proximity to the mitochondrial membrane proteins VDAC and Tom22, and CypD.
Thus, partial or total deficiency in TK induces resistance to the infarct size reducing effect of CsA in cardiac ischemia in mice, suggesting that TK level is a critical factor for cardioprotection by CsA. TK is required for the mitochondrial action of CsA and may interact with CypD. Genetic variability in TK activity has been documented in man and may influence the cardioprotective effect of CsA.