Vitamin D receptor activation protects against myocardial reperfusion injury through inhibition of apoptosis and modulation of autophagy. Academic Article uri icon


  • AIMS: To determine the roles of vitamin D receptor (VDR) in ischemia/reperfusion-induced myocardial injury and to investigate the underlying mechanisms involved. RESULTS: The endogenous VDR expression was detected in the mouse heart, and myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (MI/R) upregulated VDR expression. Activation of VDR by natural and synthetic agonists reduced myocardial infarct size and improved cardiac function. Mechanistically, VDR activation inhibited endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress (determined by the reduction of CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein homologous protein expression and caspase-12 activation), attenuated mitochondrial impairment (determined by the decrease of mitochondrial cytochrome c release and caspase-9 activation), and reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Furthermore, VDR activation significantly inhibited MI/R-induced autophagy dysfunction (determined by the inhibition of Beclin 1 over-activation, the reduction of autophagosomes, the LC3-II/LC3-I ratio, p62 protein abundance, and the restoration of autophagy flux). Moreover, VDR activation inhibited MI/R-induced oxidative stress through a metallothionein-dependent mechanism. The cardioprotective effects of VDR agonists mentioned earlier were impaired in the setting of cardiac-specific VDR silencing. In contrast, adenovirus-mediated cardiac VDR overexpression decreased myocardial infarct size and improved cardiac function through attenuating oxidative stress, and inhibiting apoptosis and autophagy dysfunction. INNOVATION AND CONCLUSION: Our data demonstrate that VDR is a novel endogenous self-defensive and cardioprotective receptor against MI/R injury, via mechanisms (at least in part) reducing oxidative stress, and inhibiting apoptosis and autophagy dysfunction-mediated cell death.

published proceedings

  • Antioxid Redox Signal

altmetric score

  • 2.85

author list (cited authors)

  • Yao, T., Ying, X., Zhao, Y., Yuan, A., He, Q., Tong, H., ... He, B.

citation count

  • 125

complete list of authors

  • Yao, Tianbao||Ying, Xiaoying||Zhao, Yichao||Yuan, Ancai||He, Qing||Tong, Huan||Ding, Song||Liu, Junling||Peng, Xu||Gao, Erhe||Pu, Jun||He, Ben

publication date

  • January 2015