Hexokinase II and Reperfusion Injury: TAT-HK2 Peptide Impairs Vascular Function in Langendorff-perfused Rat Hearts

Philippe Pasdois, Joanne E Parker, Elinor J Griffiths, Andrew P Halestrap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Rationale: Mitochondrial-bound hexokinase II (HK2) was recently proposed to play a crucial role in the normal functioning of the beating heart and to be necessary to maintain mitochondrial membrane potential. However, our own studies confirmed that mitochondria from ischemic rat hearts were HK2-depleted, yet showed no indication of depolarization and responded normally to ADP. Objective: To establish whether the human TAT-HK2 peptide used to dissociate mitochondrial-bound HKII in the Langendorff-perfused heart may exert its effects indirectly by impairing coronary function. Methods and Results: Ischemic preconditioning was blocked in rat hearts perfused with 2.5 µmol/L TAT-HK2 before ischemia or at the onset of reperfusion. However, TAT-HK2 also decreased the phosphocreatine:ATP ratio that correlated with reduced rate pressure product and increased diastolic pressure. These effects were preceded by increased aortic pressure (Langendorff constant flow) or decreased coronary flow (Langendorff constant pressure), which was also observed, albeit less pronounced, at 200 nmol/L TAT-HK2 and was prevented by coperfusion with the NO-donor diethylamine NONOate. Mitochondria from TAT-HK2-perfused hearts showed no loss of bound HK2, unlike mitochondria from ischemic hearts where the expected loss was prevented by ischemic preconditioning. Conclusions: In the perfused rat heart, TAT-HK2 should be used with caution and careful attention to dosage because some of its effects may be mediated by vasoconstriction of the coronary vasculature rather than dissociation of HK2 from myocyte mitochondria.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e3-7
JournalCirculation Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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