Exogenous Ubiquitin Reduces Inflammatory Response and Preserves Myocardial Function 3 Days Post-Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury

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β-Adrenergic receptor (β-AR) stimulation increases extracellular levels of ubiquitin (UB) in myocytes, and exogenous UB decreases β-AR-stimulated myocyte apoptosis and myocardial fibrosis. Here, we hypothesized that exogenous UB modulates the inflammatory response, thereby playing a protective role in cardiac remodeling after ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. C57BL/6 mice infused with vehicle or UB (1 μg·g−1·h−1) were subjected to myocardial I/R injury. Functional and biochemical parameters of the heart were examined 3 days post-I/R. Heart weight-to-body weight ratios were similarly increased in I/R and UB + I/R groups. The area at risk and infarct size were significantly lower in UB + I/R versus I/R groups. Measurement of heart function using echocardiography revealed that I/R decreases percent fractional shortening and percent ejection fraction. However, the decrease in fractional shortening and ejection fraction was significantly lower in the UB + I/R group. The UB + I/R group displayed a significant decrease in inflammatory infiltrates, neutrophils, and macrophages versus the I/R group. Neutrophil activity was significantly lower in the UB + I/R group. Analysis of the concentration of a panel of 23 cytokines/chemokines in the serum using a Bio-Plex assay revealed a significantly lower concentration of IL-12 subunit p40 in the UB + I/R versus I/R group. The concentration of monocyte chemotactic protein-1 was lower, whereas the concentration of macrophage inflammatory protein-1α was significantly higher, in the UB+I/R group versus the sham group. Expression of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 and activity of MMP-9 were higher in the UB + I/R group versus the I/R group. Levels of ubiquitinated proteins and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase 2 expression were increased to a similar extent in both I/R groups. Thus, exogenous UB plays a protective role in myocardial remodeling post-I/R with effects on cardiac function, area at risk/infarct size, the inflammatory response, levels of serum cytokines/chemokines, and MMP expression and activity.