Research data from the past decade indicate that noble gases like xenon and helium exert
profound cardioprotection when applied before, during or afte r organ ischemia. Of all noble gases,
especially helium, has gained interest in the past years because it does not have an anesthetic “side effect”
like xenon, allowing application of this specific gas in numerous clinical ischemia/reperfusion
situations. Because helium has several unique characteristics and no hemodynamic side effects, helium
could be administered in severely ill patients. Investigations in animals as well as in humans have
proven that this noble gas is not completely inert and can induce several biological effects. Though the underlying molecular
mechanisms of helium-induced cardiac protection are still not yet fully understood, recently different signaling
pathways have been elucidated.
Keywords: Cardioprotection, conditioning, helium, mechanism, noble gases.
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