Lysosomal alterations in hypoxic and reoxygenated hearts. I. Ultrastructural and cytochemical changes

R. S. Decker, K. Wildenthal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

136 Scopus citations


Rabbit hearts perfused under hypoxic conditions underwent progressive subcellular damage, which becomes irreversible by one hour. During the first 20 minutes of perfusion, minor dilation of mitochondria and condensation of nuclear chromatin were the only salient features of cell injury. By 40 minutes moderate mitochondrial swelling was evident in hypoxic myocytes. Moreover, an increase in degenerating mitochondria and autophagic vacuoles was apparent. Reperfusion after either 20 or 40 minutes of hypoxia restored contractility, and injured myocytes underwent a cellular repair process that involved a dramatic increase in lyosomal autophagy. One hour of hypoxia yielded irrerversibly injured myocytes. Upon reoxygenation some of these cells displayed typical changes of necrosis, but others apparently underwent an abortive repair process involving the formation of large, probably nonfunctional lyosomes. These observations suggest that lysosomal autophagy is important in the efforts at repair that cardiac cells initiate during and after hypoxia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-444
Number of pages20
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1980


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine

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