Ticagrelor protects the heart against reperfusion injury and improves remodeling after myocardial infarction

Yumei Ye, Gilad D. Birnbaum, Jose R. Perez-Polo, Manjyot K. Nanhwan, Sven Nylander, Yochai Birnbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


Objective - In addition to P2Y 12 receptor antagonism, ticagrelor inhibits adenosine cell uptake. Prior data show that 7-day pretreatment with ticagrelor limits infarct size. We explored the acute effects of ticagrelor and clopidogrel on infarct size and potential long-term effects on heart function. Approach and Results - Rats underwent 30-minute ischemia per 24-hour reperfusion. (1) Ticagrelor (10 or 30 mg/kg) or clopidogrel (12.5 mg/kg) was given via intraperitoneal injection 5 minutes before reperfusion. (2) Rats received ticagrelor acute (intraperitoneal; 30 mg/kg), chronic (oral; 300 mg/kg per day) for 4 weeks starting 1 day after reperfusion or the combination (acute+chronic). Another group received clopidogrel (intraperitoneal [12.5 mg/kg]+oral [62.5 mg/kg per day]) for 4 weeks. (1) Ticagrelor dose-dependently reduced infarct size, 10 mg/kg (31.5%±1.8%; P<0.001) and 30 mg/kg (21.4%±2.6%; P<0.001) versus control (45.3±1.7%), whereas clopidogrel had no effect (42.4%±2.6%). Ticagrelor, but not clopidogrel, increased myocardial adenosine levels, increased phosphorylation of Akt, endothelial NO synthase, and extracellular-signal-regulated kinase 1/2 4 hours after reperfusion and decreased apoptosis. (2) After 4 weeks, left ventricular ejection fraction was reduced in the vehicle-treated group (44.8%±3.5%) versus sham (77.6%±0.9%). All ticagrelor treatments improved left ventricular ejection fraction, acute (69.5%±1.6%), chronic (69.2%±1.0%), and acute+chronic (76.3%±1.2%), whereas clopidogrel had no effect (37.4%±3.7%). Ticagrelor, but not clopidogrel, attenuated fibrosis and decreased collagen-III mRNA levels 4 weeks after ischemia/reperfusion. Ticagrelor, but not clopidogrel, attenuated the increase in proinflammatory tumor necrosis factor-α, interleukin-1β, and interleukin-18, and increased anti-inflammatory 15-epi-lipoxin-A 4 levels. Conclusions - Ticagrelor, but not clopidogrel, administered just before reperfusion protects against reperfusion injury. This acute treatment or chronic ticagrelor for 4 weeks or their combination improved heart function, whereas clopidogrel, despite achieving a similar degree of platelet inhibition, had no effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1805-1814
Number of pages10
JournalArteriosclerosis, thrombosis, and vascular biology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 25 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • adenosine
  • aspirin
  • platelet inhibitors
  • prostaglandin-endoperoxide synthases
  • reperfusion injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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