Although the existence of cardiac mitochondrial cGMP has been reported previously [Kimura and Murad (1974) J. Biol. Chem. 249, 6910–6916], the physiological and pathophysiological properties of cGMP in cardiac mitochondria have remained unknown. The aim of the present study was to clarify whether cardiac mitochondrial cGMP regulates the apoptosis of cardiomyocytes. In the presence of GTP, the NO donors SNAP (S-nitroso-N-acetyl-DL-penicillamine; 1 mmol/l) and SNP (sodium nitroprusside; 1 mmol/l) each markedly increased the cGMP level in a highly purified mitochondrial protein fraction prepared from left ventricular myocytes of male Wistar rats, and these increases were inhibited by 1 μmol/l ODQ (1H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one), an inhibitor of NO-sensitive guanylate cyclase. In purified mitochondria, both SNAP (1 mmol/l) and the membrane-permeant cGMP analogue 8-Br-cGMP (8-bromo-cGMP; 1 mmol/l), but not cGMP (1 mmol/l), increased cytochrome c release from succinate-energized mitochondria without inducing mitochondrial swelling and depolarization of the mitochondrial membrane as factors of activation of MPT (mitochondrial permeability transition). The cytochrome c release mediated by SNAP was inhibited in the presence of 1 μmol/l ODQ. On the other hand, 1 mmol/l SNAP induced apoptosis in primary cultured adult rat cardiomyocytes in a time-dependent manner, and this induction was significantly inhibited in the presence of ODQ. Furthermore, apoptosis induced in primary cultured cardiomyocytes by hypoxia/re-oxygenation was also inhibited by ODQ. These results suggest that the acceleration of cGMP production in cardiac mitochondria stimulates cytochrome c release from mitochondria in an MPT-independent manner, resulting in apoptosis.

You do not currently have access to this content.