We investigated the relationship between the effects of ischemic preconditioning (IPC) and Ca2+ preconditioning (CPC) on reperfusion-induced arrhythmias. In the control group (noPC), Langendorff-perfused rat hearts were subjected to 5-min zero-flow global ischemia (I) followed by 15-min reperfusion (I/R). In ischemic preconditioning groups (IPC), the hearts were subjected to three cycles of 3-min global ischemia and 5-min reperfusion. In the CPC group, the hearts were exposed to three cycles of 3-min perfusion of higher Ca2+ (2.3 mmol/l Ca2+) followed by 5-min perfusion of normal 1.3 mmol/l Ca2+, and the hearts were then subjected to I/R. Verapamil was administered in several hearts of the IPC group (VR+IPC). Ventricular arrhythmias upon reperfusion were less frequently seen in the IPC and CPC groups than in the noPC and VR+IPC groups. IPC and CPC could attenuate conduction delay and enhance shortening of the monophasic action potential duration during ischemia. The ventricular fibrillation threshold measured at 1-min reperfusion was significantly higher in the IPC and CPC groups than in the noPC and VR+IPC groups. Verapamil completely abolished the salutary effects of IPC. These results demonstrate that Ca2+ plays an important role in the antiarrhythmic effect of IPC during reperfusion.
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