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The signal transduction of remote ischemic conditioning is still largely unknown.Characterization of neurohumoral signal transfer and vago-splenic axis in remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC).Anesthetized pigs were subjected to 60 minutes of coronary occlusion and 180 minutes of reperfusion (placebo+ischemia/reperfusion [PLA+I/R]). RIPC was induced by 4×5/5 minutes of hindlimb I/R 90 minutes before coronary occlusion (RIPC+I/R). Arterial blood samples were taken after placebo or RIPC before I/R. In subgroups of pigs, bilateral cervical vagotomy, splenectomy, or splenic denervation were performed before PLA+I/R or RIPC+I/R, respectively. In pigs with RIPC+I/R, infarct size (percentage of area at risk) was less than in those with PLA+I/R (23±12% versus 45±8%); splenectomy or splenic denervation abrogated (splenectomy+RIPC+I/R: 38±15%; splenic denervation+RIPC+I/R: 43±5%), and vagotomy attenuated (vagotomy+RIPC+I/R: 36±11%) RIPC protection. RIPC increased phosphorylation of STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) in left ventricular biopsies taken at early reperfusion. Splenectomy or splenic denervation, but not vagotomy, abolished this increased phosphorylation. In rats with vagotomy, splenectomy, or splenic denervation, RIPC (3×5/5 minutes of hindlimb occlusion/reperfusion) or placebo was performed, respectively. Hearts were isolated, saline perfused, and subjected to 30/120-minute global I/R. With RIPC, infarct size (percentage of ventricular mass) was less (20±7%) than with placebo (37±6%), and vagotomy, splenectomy, or splenic denervation abrogated RIPC protection (38±12%, 36±9%, and 36±7%), respectively. Rat spleens were isolated, saline perfused, and splenic effluate (SEff) was sampled after infusion with carbachol (SEffcarbachol) or saline (SEffsaline). Pig plasma or SEff was infused into isolated perfused rat hearts subjected to global I/R. Infarct size was less with infusion of RIPC+I/Rplasma+ (24±6%) than with PLA+I/Rplasma (40±8%), vagotomy+PLA+I/Rplasma (39±11%), splenectomy+PLA+I/Rplasma (35±8%), vagotomy+RIPC+I/Rplasma (40±9%), splenectomy+RIPC+I/Rplasma (33±9%), or splenic denervation+RIPC+I/Rplasma (39±8%), respectively. With infusion of SEffcarbachol, infarct size was less than with infusion of SEffsaline (24 [19–27]% versus 35 [32–38]%).Activation of a vago-splenic axis is causally involved in RIPC cardioprotection.