Niacin protects the isolated heart from ischemia-reperfusion injury

Nathan A. Trueblood, Ravichandran Ramasamy, L. I. Feng Wang, Saul Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Nicotinic acid (niacin) has been shown to decrease myocyte injury. Because interventions that lower the cytosolic NADH/NAD+ ratio improve glycolysis and limit infarct size, we hypothesized that 1) niacin, as a precursor of NAD+, would lower the NADH/NAD+ ratio, increase glycolysis, and limit ischemic injury and 2) these cardioprotective benefits of niacin would be limited in conditions that block lactate removal. Isolated rat hearts were perfused without (Ctl) or with 1 μM niacin (Nia) and subjected, to 30 min of low-flow ischemia (10% of baseline flow, LF) and reperfusion. To examine the effects of limiting lactate efflux, experiments were performed with 1) Ctl and Nia groups subjected to zero-flow ischemia and 2) the Nia group treated with the lactate-H+ cotransport inhibitor α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamate under LF conditions. Measured variables included ATP, pH, cardiac function, tissue lactate-to-pyruvate ratio (reflecting NADH/NAD+), lactate efflux rate, and creatine kinase release. The lactate-to-pyruvate ratio was reduced by more than twofold in Nia-LF hearts during baseline and ischemic conditions (P < 0.001 and P < 0.01, respectively), with concurrent lower creatine kinase release than Ctl hearts (P < 0.05). Nia-LF hearts had significantly greater lactate release during ischemia (P < 0.05 vs. Ctl hearts) as well as higher functional recovery and a relative preservation of high-energy phosphates. Inhibiting lactate efflux with α-cyano-4-hydroxycinnamate and blocking lactate washout with zero flow negated some of the beneficial effects of niacin. During LF, niacin lowered the cytosolic redox state and increased lactate efflux, consistent with redox regulation of glycolysis. Niacin significantly improved functional and metabolic parameters under these conditions, providing additional rationale for use of niacin as a therapeutic agent in patients with ischemic heart disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2 48-2
StatePublished - 2000


  • Ischemia
  • Lactate
  • Monocarboxylate transport
  • Myocardium
  • Nicotinic acid

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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