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Novel Role for Cardiolipin as a Target of Therapy to Mitigate Myocardial Injury Caused by Venoarterial Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation

Originally publishedhttps://doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.123.065298Circulation. 2024;149:1341–1353

    BACKGROUND:

    Cardiolipin is a mitochondrial-specific phospholipid that maintains integrity of the electron transport chain (ETC) and plays a central role in myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury. Tafazzin is an enzyme that is required for cardiolipin maturation. Venoarterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VA-ECMO) use to provide hemodynamic support for acute myocardial infarction has grown exponentially, is associated with poor outcomes, and is under active clinical investigation, yet the mechanistic effect of VA-ECMO on myocardial damage in acute myocardial infarction remains poorly understood. We hypothesized that VA-ECMO acutely depletes myocardial cardiolipin and exacerbates myocardial injury in acute myocardial infarction.

    METHODS:

    We examined cardiolipin and tafazzin levels in human subjects with heart failure and healthy swine exposed to VA-ECMO and used a swine model of closed-chest myocardial ischemia/reperfusion injury to evaluate the effect of VA-ECMO on cardiolipin expression, myocardial injury, and mitochondrial function.

    RESULTS:

    Cardiolipin and tafazzin levels are significantly reduced in the left ventricles of individuals requiring VA-ECMO compared with individuals without VA-ECMO before heart transplantation. Six hours of exposure to VA-ECMO also decreased left ventricular levels of cardiolipin and tafazzin in healthy swine compared with sham controls. To explore whether cardiolipin depletion by VA-ECMO increases infarct size, we performed left anterior descending artery occlusion for a total of 120 minutes followed by 180 minutes of reperfusion in adult swine in the presence and absence of MTP-131, an amphipathic molecule that interacts with cardiolipin to stabilize the inner mitochondrial membrane. Compared with reperfusion alone, VA-ECMO activation beginning after 90 minutes of left anterior descending artery occlusion increased infarct size (36±8% versus 48±7%; P<0.001). VA-ECMO also decreased cardiolipin and tafazzin levels, disrupted mitochondrial integrity, reduced electron transport chain function, and promoted oxidative stress. Compared with reperfusion alone or VA-ECMO before reperfusion, delivery of MTP-131 before VA-ECMO activation reduced infarct size (22±8%; P=0.03 versus reperfusion alone and P<0.001 versus VA-ECMO alone). MTP-131 restored cardiolipin and tafazzin levels, stabilized mitochondrial function, and reduced oxidative stress in the left ventricle.

    CONCLUSIONS:

    We identified a novel mechanism by which VA-ECMO promotes myocardial injury and further identify cardiolipin as an important target of therapy to reduce infarct size and to preserve mitochondrial function in the setting of VA-ECMO for acute myocardial infarction.

    Footnotes

    Supplemental Material is available at https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/suppl/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.123.065298.

    Continuing medical education (CME) credit is available for this article. Go to http://cme.ahajournals.org to take the quiz.

    For Sources of Funding and Disclosures, see page 1352

    Circulation is available at www.ahajournals.org/journal/circ

    Correspondence to: Navin K. Kapur, MD, Tufts Medical Center, 800 Washington St, Box 80, Boston, MA 02111. Email

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