Adhesion of activated leukocytes to the endothelial cells as a result of myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion during open chest coronary artery surgery has been shown to be involved in the development of tissue damage. Activated leukocytes adhere to endothelium via adhesion molecules expressed by both cell types, resulting in the impairment of coronary capillary flow. Upon cell activation, adhesion proteins may be released in the soluble form to circulating blood. The purpose of our study was to verify whether myocardial ischaemia/reperfusion occurring during coronary artery bypass grafting results in release of the soluble adhesion molecules VCAM-1, ICAM-1, E-selectin and L-selectin into the circulation.
Plasma levels of the soluble adhesion molecules were measured in vein, arterial and coronary sinus blood samples taken from 15 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). Blood samples for estimations were collected during the procedure: before aorta cross-clamping, at the beginning of reperfusion and 30 min after reperfusion. Soluble adhesion molecules levels were measured by standard ELISA assays.
Mean plasma levels of soluble VCAM-1 in arterial samples increased significantly at the beginning of reperfusion and 30 min after reperfusion. In contrast, soluble L-selectin plasma levels in arterial samples remained unchanged. In coronary sinus samples, levels of soluble ICAM-1 significantly increased 30 min after reperfusion. Moreover, in coronary sinus samples collected 30 min after reperfusion, soluble ICAM-1 levels were significantly higher than in arterial samples obtained at the same time. The mean concentration of soluble E-selectin in samples obtained from coronary sinus decreased significantly 30 min after reperfusion. Moreover, plasma levels of soluble E-selectin in coronary sinus samples obtained 30 min after reperfusion were significantly decreased compared with these observed in arterial samples collected at the same time.
The reperfusion of ischaemic myocardium during CABG results in a significant increase in plasma levels of the soluble endothelial adhesion molecules VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 and significant decrease in soluble E-selectin plasma levels. L-selectin plasma levels during CABG procedure remain unchanged. We propose that the increased plasma concentrations of soluble VCAM-1 and ICAM-1 are a result of endothelial cell activation during ischaemia/reperfusion following bypass surgery.