Winter 2012 DIG Report: Mihai V. Podgoreanu, MD

Elucidating Adaptive Mechanisms of Perioperative Cardioprotection Following Ischemia-reperfusion in Hibernating Arctic Ground Squirrels

The overall goal of this study was to understand how hibernating animals have developed natural defense mechanisms to withstand extremes of environment, and to ultimately apply this knowledge for organ protection in humans undergoing heart surgery.

We have previously characterized specific metabolic and anti-inflammatory adaptive responses to surgery in hibernating (arctic ground squirrels) versus non-hibernating animals (rats). Since the previous quarterly report, our team has conducted key additional experiments in summer active arctic ground squirrels to demonstrate that the organ protective mechanisms observed are a consequence of the hibernation state. We have received funding from the Foundation of Anesthesia Education and Research, and two additional grant applications are under review (an American Heart Association National Established Investigator grant, and an NIH Transformative-R01 grant). Our results have been selected for podium presentations at various international, national and local meetings, including the American Society of Anesthesiology and the American Heart Association.

In the upcoming quarter we plan to conduct additional experiments in both winter hibernating and summer active animals to characterize changes in the abundance of the full spectrum of proteins expressed in the heart using proteomic analyses, as well as in the repertoire of inflammatory cells responsible for heart damage following cardiac surgery using flow cytometry analyses.