This study tested whether ischemia-reperfusion alters coronary smooth muscle reactivity to vasoconstrictor stimuli such as those elicited by an adventitial stimulation with methacholine. In vitro studies were performed to assess the reactivity of endothelium-denuded infarct-related coronary arteries to methacholine (n = 18). In addition, the vasoconstrictor effects of adventitial application of methacholine to left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery was assessed in vivo in pigs submitted to 2 h of LAD occlusion followed by reperfusion (n = 12), LAD deendothelization (n = 11), or a sham operation (n = 6). Endothelial-dependent vasodilator capacity of infarct-related LAD was assessed by intracoronary injection of bradykinin (n = 13). In vitro, smooth muscle reactivity to methacholine was unaffected by ischemia-reperfusion. In vivo, baseline methacholine administration induced a transient and reversible drop in coronary blood flow (9.6 ± 4.6 to 1.9 ± 2.6 ml/min, P < 0.01), accompanied by severe left ventricular dysfunction. After ischemia-reperfusion, methacholine induced a prolonged and severe coronary blood flow drop (9.7 ± 7.0 to 3.4 ± 3.9 ml/min), with a significant delay in recovery (P < 0.001). Endothelial denudation mimics in part the effects of methacholine after ischemia-reperfusion, and intracoronary bradykinin confirmed the existence of endothelial dysfunction. Infarct-related epicardial coronary artery shows a delayed recovery after vasoconstrictor stimuli, because of appropriate smooth muscle reactivity and impairment of endothelial-dependent vasodilator capacity.
- Cholinergic agonists