Previously, opioids were established to reduce myocardial injury in an ischemic preconditioning (IPC)-like manner, involving a central and downstream role of glycogen synthase kinase-3 beta (GSK-3β) inhibition. However, the mechanism of GSK-3β inhibition mediating cardioprotection and the protein partners involved has not been fully elucidated. Hence, we used a non-biased sequence scan of the proteome to determine potential GSK-3β protein partners and tested whether two candidate proteins, heat shock proteins (HSP) 70 and 90, are involved in the mechanism of opioid-induced cardioprotection.
A non-biased BLAST search was performed for putative GSK-3β target substrates, based upon the sequence motif S/T-X-X-X-S/T. Approximately 700 proteins were identified to have this moiety, including many of the HSP protein class, including HSP70 and HSP90. To determine whether HSP70 or HSP90 are indeed important in opioid-induced cardioprotection, rats were subjected to an in vivo myocardial ischemia-reperfusion protocol consisting of 30 minutes of ischemia and 2 hours of reperfusion of the left anterior descending coronary artery followed by infarct size assessment. Either morphine (0.3mg/kg) or inhibition of GSK-3β using SB216763 (0.6mg/kg), reduced infarct size compared to control (42.21±1*% and 41.09±2*%, respectively versus control 60.38±1.2, *P<0.01). Inhibition of HSP70 using desoxysperguanalin (DSG), or HSP90 using radicicol (RAD), abrogated morphine-induced protection (56.09±2 and 58.64±1, respectively). Either DSG or RAD partially inhibited protection in the presence of GSK-3β (47.28±1.071 and 49.88±3.09). Our results suggest that morphine-induced cardioprotection occurs by a HSP70 and HSP90- dependent mechanism, with this HSP machinery partially required for GSK3β-inhibition-induced cardioprotection. Further understanding of this mechanism is important, considering many agents targeting HSP are currently in development as novel cancer treatments, which may have detrimental effects on the myocardial salvage mediated by opioids or by GSK3β-inhibition.