Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Dr. Rakesh C. Kukreja


Recent studies have shown that the potent phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE-5) inhibitor, sildenafil citrate, induces a powerful cardioprotective effect against ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury in rabbit and mouse hearts. However, the effect of this drug in inducing long-term protection against I/R injury remains unknown. The goal of this study was to identify the duration of the protective window of sildenafil citrate as well as vardenafil, a more potent PDE-5 inhibitor. Rabbits were treated with sildenafil (0.7 mg/kg, iv), vardenafil (0.143 mg/kg), or an equivalent volume of saline. After 24 hrs, 48 hrs, 96 hrs, or 7 days of sildenafil treatment, the hearts were subjected to I/R. In the vardenafil groups, the hearts were subjected to I/R at 24 hrs and 7 days after administration of the drug. To evaluate the role of nitric oxide (NO) in cardioprotection, a non-selective blocker of nitric oxide synthase, L-NAME (15 mg/kg, iv) was administered 10 minutes prior to I/R. The results show significant reductions in infarct size in hearts treated with sildenafil and vardenafil as compared to the corresponding saline controls at all time points. The protective effects of sildenafil and vardenafil were abrogated in animals treated with L-NAME. L-NAME had no effect on infarct size in saline treated control rabbits. These data suggest that both sildenafil and vardenafil induce a long-term protective effect against myocardial infarction which is mediated via a NO-dependent pathway. These studies are important in exploiting the clinical potential of PDE-5 inhibitors in terms of protection against ischemia/reperfusion injury in patients with coronary artery disease.


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Is Part Of

VCU University Archives

Is Part Of

VCU Theses and Dissertations

Date of Submission

June 2008

Included in

Physiology Commons