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It has now been demonstrated that the μ, δ1, δ2, and κ1 opioid receptor (OR) agonists represent the most promising group of opioids for the creation of drugs enhancing cardiac tolerance to the detrimental effects of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). Opioids are able to prevent necrosis and apoptosis of cardiomyocytes during I/R and improve cardiac contractility in the reperfusion period. The OR agonists exert an infarct-reducing effect with prophylactic administration and prevent reperfusion-induced cardiomyocyte death when ischemic injury of heart has already occurred; that is, opioids can mimic preconditioning and postconditioning phenomena. Furthermore, opioids are also effective in preventing ischemia-induced arrhythmias.
- Ischemia/reperfusion injury
- Signal transduction
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