Experimental myocardial infarction was induced in rats. The myocardial accumulation of hyaluronan (HA) and water during the development of infarction was measured. The extractable HA content of the infarcted area increased progressively from day 1 and on day 3 reached a threefold increase compared with the HA amounts in myocardium of sham operated controls. The relative water content of infarcted areas also increased progressively reaching a maximum value by day 3 and was strongly correlated with the HA accumulation. Affinity histochemistry visualized a thin rim of HA in the endoperimysium in healthy myocardium. By day 2 an interstitial edema with inflammatory cells was apparent. The widened endoperimysium stained extensively for HA. By its water-binding ability, interstitial accumulation of HA will contribute to the interstitial edema in infarcted myocardial tissue. An interstitial edema is likely to influence the electromechanical characteristics of the myocardium and facilitate reentry phenomena due to a loss of contact between muscle cells. The edema also induces an increased extracellular pressure and an altered myocardial wall compliance that might impair myocardial microcirculation. The findings are relevant to an understanding of the beneficial effect of hyaluronidase treatment in limiting cellular damage during myocardial ischemia.
A Waldenström, H J Martinussen, B Gerdin, R Hällgren