Nicorandil, a Nitric Oxide Donor and ATP-Sensitive Potassium Channel Opener, Protects Against Dystrophin-Deficient Cardiomyopathy

Muhammad Z. Afzal, Melanie Reiter, Courtney Gastonguay, Jered V. McGivern, Xuan Guan, Zhi-Dong Ge, David L. Mack, Martin K. Childers, Allison D. Ebert, Jennifer L. Strande*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Dystrophin-deficient cardiomyopathy is a growing clinical problem without targeted treatments. We investigated whether nicorandil promotes cardioprotection in human dystrophin-deficient induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes and the muscular dystrophy mdx mouse heart. Methods and Results: Dystrophin-deficient iPSC-derived cardiomyocytes had decreased levels of endothelial nitric oxide synthase and neuronal nitric oxide synthase. The dystrophin-deficient cardiomyocytes had increased cell injury and death after 2 hours of stress and recovery. This was associated with increased levels of reactive oxygen species and dissipation of the mitochondrial membrane potential. Nicorandil pretreatment was able to abolish these stress-induced changes through a mechanism that involved the nitric oxide-cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathway and mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate-sensitive potassium channels. The increased reactive oxygen species levels in the dystrophin-deficient cardiomyocytes were associated with diminished expression of select antioxidant genes and increased activity of xanthine oxidase. Furthermore, nicorandil was found to improve the restoration of cardiac function after ischemia and reperfusion in the isolated mdx mouse heart. Conclusion: Nicorandil protects against stress-induced cell death in dystrophin-deficient cardiomyocytes and preserves cardiac function in the mdx mouse heart subjected to ischemia and reperfusion injury. This suggests a potential therapeutic role for nicorandil in dystrophin-deficient cardiomyopathy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-562
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • cardiomyopathy
  • induced pluripotent cells
  • muscular dystrophy
  • nicorandil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Pharmacology (medical)

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