Hypothermia preconditioning improves cardiac contractility after cardiopulmonary resuscitation through AMPK-activated mitophagy

Yuanzheng Lu, Chenyu Zhang, Jie Chen, Qiuping Zou, Bo Li, Hongyan Wei, Mary P. Chang, Xiaoxing Liao, Chunlin Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Hypothermia preconditioning (HPC) improves cardiac function after cardiac arrest, yet the mechanism is unclear. We hypothesized that HPC-activated adenosine monophosphate-activated protein kinase (AMPK) activity may be involved. Adult male Wistar rats were randomly divided into normothermia Control, HPC (cooling to 32–34°C for 30 min), and HPC + Compound C (Compound C 10 mg/kg was injected intraperitoneally 30 min before HPC group). The rats underwent 7 min of untreated ventricular fibrillation (VF) followed by cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Cardiac function and hemodynamic parameters were evaluated at 4 h after return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). Survival status was determined 72 h after ROSC. Mechanistically, we further examined the AMPK-Unc-51 Like Autophagy Activating Kinase 1 (ULK1)-mitophagy pathway and autophagic flux in vivo and in vitro. Six of twelve rats in the Control group, 10 of 12 rats in the HPC group, and 7 of 12 rats in HPC + Compound C group were successfully resuscitated. The 72-h survival rates were 1 of 12 Control, 6 of 12 HPC, and 2 of 12 HPC + Compound C rats, respectively (P = 0.043). Rats in the HPC group demonstrated greater cardiac contractility and hemodynamic stability which were compromised by Compound C. Furthermore, HPC increased the protein levels of p-AMPKα and p-ULK1 and promoted the expression of mitochondrial autophagy-related genes. Compound C decreased the expression of mitochondrial autophagy-related genes and reduced autophagic flux. Consistent with the observations obtained in vivo, in vitro experiments in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (CMs) demonstrated that HPC attenuated simulated ischemia–reperfusion-induced CM death, accompanied by increased AMPK-ULK1-mitophagy pathway activity. These findings suggest that AMPK-ULK1-mitophagy pathway was activated by HPC and has a crucial role in cardioprotection during cardiac arrest. Manipulation of mitophagy by hypothermia may merit further investigation as a novel strategy to prevent cardiac ischemia–reperfusion injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalExperimental Biology and Medicine
StateAccepted/In press - 2022


  • AMPK-induced mitophagy
  • Cardiac arrest
  • cardiac dysfunction
  • hypothermia preconditioning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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