Neutralizing IL-6 reduces heart injury by decreasing nerve growth factor precursor in the heart and hypothalamus during rat cardiopulmonary bypass

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Aims:To investigate whether the expression of nerve growth factor precursor (proNGF) changes during cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) and whether neutralizing interleukin-6 (IL-6) during CPB has cardiac benefits.Main methods:Thirty patients undergoing CPB were recruited and their serum proNGF and troponin-I (TNI) were detected. In addition, rats were divided into three groups: CPB group, CPB with cardiac ischemia–reperfusion (IR) group, and a control group. The pre-CPB standard deviation of N-N intervals (SDNN) and post-CPB SDNN were compared. At the end of CPB, nerve peptide Y (NPY), acetylcholinesterase, cell apoptosis, and proNGF protein expression were measured in the heart and hypothalamus. Another rat cohort undergoing CPB was divided into two groups: an anti-IL-6 group with IL-6 antibody and a control group with phosphate buffer solution. At the end of CPB, serum hs-troponin-T and cardiac caspases 3 and 9 were detected. NPY and proNGF in the heart and hypothalamus were detected.Key findings:In patients, serum proNGF increased during CPB, and the concentration was positively correlated with TNI. In rats, cardiac autonomic nervous function was disturbed during CPB. More apoptotic cells and higher levels of proNGF were found in the heart and hypothalamus in the CPB groups than in the control groups. Neutralizing IL-6 was beneficial to lower cardiac injury by decreasing proNGF and apoptosis.Significance:CPB induced changes in proNGF in the heart and hypothalamus. Suppressing inflammation attenuated myocardial apoptosis and autonomic nerve function disturbance in CPB rats, likely due in part to regulation of proNGF in the heart and hypothalamus.Graphical abstract

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