Background: Nicorandil, a mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate-sensitive potassium (mitoKATP) channel opener, exerts protective effects on the cardiovascular system. This study examined the effect of nicorandil on cyclic strain-induced interleukin-8 (IL-8) expression in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECs). Methods: Cultured HUVECs were exposed to cyclic strain in the presence or absence of nicorandil (1-10 μmol/l); we then analyzed IL-8 expression. We also assessed the effects of nicorandil on heme oxygenase-1 (HO-1) expression and cyclic strain-modulated IL-8 expression after HO-1 silencing in HUVECs. Summary: HUVECs exposed to cyclic strain showed increased IL-8 messenger RNA expression and protein secretion. Nicorandil (1-10 μmol/l) inhibited cyclic strain-induced IL-8 expression, whereas 5-hydroxydecanoate (100 μmol/l), a selective inhibitor of the mitoKATP channel, completely reversed the inhibitory effects of nicorandil on cyclic strain-induced IL-8 expression. We demonstrated that nicorandil increased HO-1 expression in HUVECs. In addition, cobalt protoporphyrin (10 μmol/l), an inducer of HO-1 expression, mimicked the effects of nicorandil and inhibited IL-8 expression under cyclic strain, whereas zinc protoporphyrin IX (10 μmol/l), an inhibitor of HO-1 expression, antagonized the effect of nicorandil. HO-1 silencing significantly abrogated the inhibitory effects of nicorandil on cyclic strain-induced IL-8 expression, suggesting that HO-1 plays a role in the mechanism of action of nicorandil. Key Messages: This study is the first to report that nicorandil inhibits cyclic strain-induced IL-8 expression through the induction of HO-1 expression in HUVECs. This finding provides valuable new insight into the molecular pathways contributing to the vasoprotective effects of nicorandil.
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