Burn-induced cardiac mitochondrial dysfunction via interruption of the PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway

Jake J. Wen, Claire B. Cummins, Ravi S. Radhakrishnan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Burn-induced heart dysfunction is a key factor for patient mortality. However, the molecular mechanisms are not yet fully elucidated. This study sought to understand whether burn-induced heart dysfunction is associated with cardiac mitochondrial dysfunction and interruption of the PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway. Sixty percent total body surface area (TBSA) scald burned rats (± sildenafil) were used in this study. A transmission electron microscope (TEM), real-time qPCR, O2K-respirometer, and electron transport chain assays were used to characterized molecular function. Cardiac mitochondrial morphological shapes were disfigured with a decline in mitochondrial number, area, and size, resulting in deficiency of cardiac mitochondrial replication. Burn induced a decrease in all mitDNA encoded genes. State 3 oxygen consumption was significantly decreased. Mitochondrial complex I substrate-energized or complex II substrate-energized and both of respiratory control ratio (RCRs) were decreased after burn. All mitochondrial complex activity except complex II were decreased in the burn group, correlating with decreases in mitochondrial ATP and MnSOD activity. Sildenafil, a inhibitor of the PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway, preserved the mitochondrial structure, respiratory chain efficiency and energy status in cardiac tissue. Furthermore, sildenafil treatment significantly restored ADP-conjugated respiration in burned groups. In conclusion, cardiac mitochondrial damage contributes to burn-induced heart dysfunction via the PDE5A-cGMP-PKG pathway.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2350
JournalInternational journal of molecular sciences
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2020


  • Burn injury
  • Electron transport chain
  • Mitochondria
  • Oxygen consumption
  • Sildenafil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Molecular Biology
  • Spectroscopy
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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