Our previous study has reported that superoxide mediates ischemia-reperfusion (IR)-induced necrosis in mouse skeletal muscle. However, it remains poorly understood whether IR induces apoptosis and what factors are involved in IR-induced apoptosis in skeletal muscle. Using a murine model of tourniquet-induced hindlimb IR, we investigated the relationship between mitochondrial dysfunction and apoptosis in skeletal muscle. Hindlimbs of C57/BL6 mice were subjected to 3 h ischemia and 4 h reperfusion via placement and release of a rubber tourniquet at the greater trochanter. Compared to sham treatment, tourniquet-induced IR significantly elevated mitochondria-derived superoxide production, activated opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP), and caused apoptosis in the gastrocnemius muscles. Pretreatment with a superoxide dismutase mimetic (tempol, 50 mg/kg) or a mitochondrial antioxidant (co-enzyme Q10, 50 mg/kg) not only decreased mitochondria-derived superoxide production, but also inhibited mPTP opening and apoptosis in the IR gastrocnemius muscles. Additionally, an inhibitor of mPTP (cyclosporine A, 50 mg/kg) also inhibited both mPTP opening and apoptosis in the IR gastrocnemius muscles. These results suggest that mitochondria-derived superoxide overproduction triggers the mPTP opening and subsequently causes apoptosis in tourniquet-induced hindlimb IR.
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