Cardioprotection by regular ethanol consumption: potential mechanisms and clinical application.
The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of chronic moderate and heavy ethanol consumption on myocardial ischemia/ reperfusion injury. Three groups (n = 18) of 6-month-old female Sprague-Dawley rats were fed a nutritionally balanced liquid diet. Control, moderate alcohol, and heavy alcohol groups consumed 0%, 20%, and 35% of their calories from ethanol, respectively. After 10 weeks of feeding, hearts were isolated and subjected to 21.5 min of ischemia alone, or 21.5 min of ischemia followed by 30 min reperfusion. Hearts were evaluated for hemodynamic characteristics and high-energy phosphate content. Hearts from animals exposed to moderate and heavy amounts of ethanol recovered significantly less (30.61% and 29.45%, respectively) of their preischemic cardiac external work than control hearts (65.52%). Postischemic diastolic stiffness was increased approximately 7-fold, and high-energy phosphate content, both creatine phosphate and adenosine triphosphate, decreased >25% by both chronic moderate and heavy ethanol consumption. In conclusion, both chronic moderate and heavy ethanol consumption exacerbate myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. The ethanol-induced reduction in postischemic energy status may be the mechanism of increased diastolic stiffness and subsequent reduced cardiac external work.