High-potassium cold storage solutions are currently used to preserve myocardial function during heart transplantation. However, the effects of high potassium concentration on vascular endothelial function are not well known. We therefore tested vascular rings for endothelial-dependent and endolhelial-independent relaxation during storage in nortnokalemic, normothermic buffers and then in buffers supplemented with 10 to 110 mmol/L KCl. Maximal endothelial-dependent relaxation was significantly reduced at all high potassium concentrations. Endolhelial-independent relaxation was impaired only with 80 and 110 mmol/L KCl buffers. Both endothelialdependent relaxation and endothelial-independent relaxation returned to normal values after washout of excess potassium. Similarly, endothelial-dependent relaxation and endothelial-independent relaxation were assessed in rings after 24 hours of hypothermic storage in normokalemic Krebs buffer, and in buffers containing 20 and 110 mmol/L KCl. Maximal endothelial-dependent relaxation was significantly reduced after preservation in the high-potassium solutions, whereas endothelialindependent relaxation was not impaired. We conclude that there is significant impairment of endothelial function after cold storage in a high-potassium buffer. Inadequate washout of potassium during normothermic conditions may lead to further functional impairment of vascular responsiveness. A low-potassium storage medium is recommended for improved vascular protection.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine