Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and developing world. Experimental and clinical studies have demonstrated that a number of interventions including brief periods of ischemia or hypoxia and certain endogenous factors such as opioids, bradykinin, growth factors or pharmacological agents are capable of protecting the heart against post-ischemic contractile dysfunction, arrhythmias and myocardial infarction. This conventional cardioprotection occurs via an autocrine or paracrine action in which these protective factors are released from the heart to act upon itself. Over the last ten years, a growing body of evidence indicates that a brief ischemic insult on one organ releases endogenous factors that protect other organs against a prolonged ischemic insult. This phenomenon, termed remote preconditioning or preconditioning at a distance, implicates an endocrine action, and may involve humoral or neuralendocrine signaling. This review will summarize the endocrine factors identified and implicated in this inter-organ cytoprotection.
Keywords: Remote preconditioning, humoral, neurogenic, ischemia-reperfusion injury, endocrine factors, experimental studies, clinical studies
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