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The heart is highly active metabolically but relatively underperfused and, therefore, vulnerable to ischemia. In addition to acidosis, a key component of ischemia is hypoxia that can modulate gene expression and protein function as part of an adaptive or even maladaptive response. Here, using cardiac-derived HL-1 cells, we investigate the effect of various hypoxic stimuli on the expression and activity of Na+ /H + exchanger 1 (NHE1), a principal regulator of intracellular pH. Acute (10 min) anoxia produced a reversible decrease in the sarcolemmal NHE1 activity attributable to NHE1 internalization. Treatment with either 1% O 2 or dimethyloxaloylglycine (DMOG; 1 mM) for 48-hr stabilized hypoxia-inducible factor 1 and reduced the sarcolemmal NHE1 activity by internalization, but without a change in total NHE1 immunoreactivity or message levels of the coding gene ( SLC9A1) determined in whole-cell lysates. Unlike the effect of DMOG, which was rapidly reversed on washout, reoxygenation after a prolonged period of hypoxia did not reverse the effects on NHE1, unless media were also supplemented with a membrane-permeant derivative of glutathione (GSH). Without a prior hypoxic episode, GSH supplementation had no effect on the NHE1 activity. Thus, posthypoxic NHE1 reinsertion can only take place if cells have a sufficient reservoir of a reducing agent. We propose that oxidative stress under prolonged hypoxia depletes intracellular GSH to an extent that curtails NHE1 reinsertion once the hypoxic stimulus is withdrawn. This effect may be cardioprotective, as rapid postischaemic restoration of the NHE1 activity is known to trigger reperfusion injury by producing an intracellular Na + -overload, which is proarrhythmogenic.

Original publication




Journal article


J Cell Physiol

Publication Date





4681 - 4694


HL-1 cell line, Na+/H + exchanger 1 (NHE1), hypoxia