We examined the relationship between clusterin and activated complement in human heart infarction and evaluated the effect of this protein on ischemic rat neonatal cardiomyoblasts (H9c2) and isolated adult ventricular rat cardiomyocytes as in vitro models of acute myocardial infarction. Clusterin protects cells by inhibiting complement and colocalizes with complement on jeopardized human cardiomyocytes after infarction. The distribution of clusterin and complement factor C3d was evaluated in the infarcted human heart. We also analyzed the protein expression of clusterin in ischemic H9c2 cells. The binding of endogenous and purified human clusterin on H9c2 cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. Furthermore, the effect of clusterin on the viability of ischemically challenged H9c2 cells and isolated adult ventricular rat cardiomyocytes was analyzed. In human myocardial infarcts, clusterin was found on scattered, morphologically viable cardiomyocytes within the infarcted area that were negative for complement. In H9c2 cells, clusterin was rapidly expressed after ischemia. Its expression was reduced after reperfusion. Clusterin bound to single annexin V-positive or annexin V and propidium iodide-positive H9c2 cells. Clusterin inhibited ischemia-induced death in H9c2 cells as well as in isolated adult ventricular rat cardiomyocytes in the absence of complement. We conclude that ischemia induces the upregulation of clusterin in ischemically challenged, but viable, cardiomyocytes. Our data suggest that clusterin protects cardiomyocytes against ischemic cell death via a complement-independent pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H2193-202
JournalAmerican journal of physiology. Heart and circulatory physiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Antibodies, Monoclonal
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescein-5-isothiocyanate
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Heart
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Journal Article
  • Myoblasts
  • Myocardial Infarction
  • Myocardial Ischemia
  • Myocardium
  • Myocytes, Cardiac
  • Rats
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

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