VI International Symposium on Myocardial Cytoprotection – From Basic Science to Clinical Perspectives
---by Istvan Szokodi and Janos Lantos, Pécs, Hugary
The Sixth International Symposium on Myocardial Cytoprotection was held in Pécs, Hungary from 7-9 October, 2010 and was a grand success for the world of cardiovascular research. Over 70 scientists from over 15 countries came together for a mix of cultural and scientific delight in Pécs discussing the latest news in cardiovascular research, development, science and technology related to myocardial cytoprotection providing a unique international meeting place for experts in the field.
The conference has been held since 1996 by Professor Elisabeth Rőth from the Department of Surgical Research and Techniques of the University of Pécs, the oldest university in Hungary. Ever since, it has indeed become tradition to the cardiovascular world. This year’s meeting was organized by the Department of Surgical Research and Techniques and the Heart Institute of the University of Pécs in cooperation with the Experimental Section of the Hungarian Society of Cardiology and the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences. The conference venue was the luxurious Hotel Palatinus located in the city center.
All the guest speakers were well received in Budapest and transported to Pécs, the beautiful southern capital of Hungary where the city stood in all its glory welcoming the guests to the European Cultural Capital of 2010. With a brisk mixture and contrast of ancient Roman culture dating back to over 2000 years and a modern remake of the city center, it provided a brilliant setting for the already well known speakers and young enthusiastic scientists in the field.
The excitement of the conference started a day before with the pre-congress meeting chaired by Professor Miklós Kellermeyer where four state of the art lectures were held by experts in the field of cardiovascular research presenting their innovative work. Distinguished Professor Naranjan Dhalla, the Executive Director of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences, Canada, who talked about the ‘mechanisms of sudden cardiac death’. This was followed by ‘excitation-contraction coupling of mouse embryonic cardiomyocyte: origin of the first heart beat’ by Dr. Pasi Tavi, research director at the A.I. Virtanen Institute for Molecular Sciences in Finland. A sensational talk followed about the ‘journey with nitric oxide: from cell culture to cardiac mechanical assist’ by Dr. Nandor Marczin, consultant and senior lecturer at Harefield Hospital and Imperial College London, U.K. The final talk of the evening, ‘effects of Salsate therapy on recovery from vascular injury in an animal model of insulin resistance’ was held by Professor Dennis McNamara, the president of the American section of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences, U.S.A.
The following day saw the opening ceremony where the organizing committee members: Dr. Janos Lantos and Dr. Istvan Szokodi and the patrons of the conference: Professor Attila Miseta, dean of the University of Pecs, Professor Naranjan Dhalla, Professor György Weber and Dr. Sandor Szabados heads of the Department of Surgical Research and Techniques and Heart institute respectively, Professor Zoltan Papp, leader of the Experimental Section of the Hungarian Society of Cardiology were introduced to the guests. Professor Elisabeth Rőth then inaugurated the symposium and declared it open to the keynote lectures that followed. The first of the remarkable talks was by the internationally renowned Professor Jim Parratt (Glasgow, U.K.) who talked about decisions, directions, defects and disciplines - a ruckblick of over fifty years of biomedical research; then by Professor Naranjan Dhalla (Winnipeg, Canada) on cardioprotection of subcellular defects in ischemia-reperfusion injury; Professor Gary Baxter (Cardiff, U.K.) on cardiac peptides in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion; Professor Zoltán Papp (Debrecen, Hungary) on the aging heart; and finally Professor András Varró (Szeged, Hungary) on possible mechanisms of sudden cardiac death in top athletes. The afternoon session about the ‘new aspects in the subcellular mechanisms in the heart’ included talks by Heikki Ruskaoho (Oulu, Finland) on angiogenesis, cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure; Marco Mongillo (Padova, Italy) on emerging roles of cardiac sympathetic nervous system in aging and angiogenesis; Sandra Hanninen (Oulu, Finland) on mitochondrial uncoupling leading to reduced calsequestrin levels and altered calcium handling in cardiomyocytes; Laszlo Tretter (Budapest, Hungary) on mitochondria and calcium in the myocardium; Ferenc Gallyas (Pécs, Hungary) on novel mechanism of nucleus to cytosol signaling in oxidative stress; Pawan Singal (Winnipeg, Canada) on cytokine imbalance and heart failure; and finally Grant Pierce (Winnipeg, Canada) on infection, oxidized LDL and atherosclerotic heart disease. The first day of the symposium concluded with a get together party in the evening where scientists met and enjoyed the culinary delights of Hungarian cuisine and wine. Members of the organizing committee were awarded for their devotion to the quality of the conference. The evening program also saw the presentation of a Lifetime Achievments Award in Cardiovascular Sciences to Professor Elisabeth Rőth for her contribution and dedication to the world of cardiovascular research over the years. The award was presented by Professor Naranjan Dhalla on behalf of the International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences. There were special moments where old friends met new ones stirring a colorful chemistry of science and cultural relations.
The second day of the conference started with several lectures on myocardial protection including talks by Bohuslav Ostadal (Prague, Czech Republic) on gender differences in cardiac ischemia and protection; Rakesh Kukreja (Richmond, U.S.A.) and John W. Calvert (Atlanta, U.S.A.) on the role of hydrogen sulfide signaling in cytoprotection; Elizabeth Murphy (Bethesda, U.S.A.), Charles Steenbergen (Baltimore, Jim Parratt and Agnes Vegh U.S.A.) on the importance of protein S-nitrosylation, GSK-3 beta and peroxynitrite, respectively, in cardioprotection. Miura Tetsuji (Sapporo, Japan) and Péter Ferdinándy (Szeged, Hungary) gave lectures on the mechanisms how cardioprotection is lost in diabetes and hyperlipidemia, respectively.
The afternoon session dealt with endothelial dysfunction and stem cells in cardiovascular research which was soon followed by a clinical aspect discussing bench to bedside issues. The talks included Attila Cziraki (Pécs, Hungary) on the evaluation of endothelial dysfunction in patients with coronary heart disease; Jan Kielstein (Hannover, Germany) on involvement of ADMA in cardiovascular diseases; Ákos Koller (Pécs, Hungary) on the importance of nitric oxide synthase in diabetes mellitus; Emanuele Giordano (Bologna, Italy) on stem cells in cardiovascular research; Hari Sharma (Rotterdam, Holland) on therapeutic angiogenesis in myocardial protection, Dipak Das (Farmington, U.S.A.) on regeneration of infracted myocardium with nutritionally modified cardiac stem cells; Gabor Veres (Budapest, Hungary) on Custodiol-N, a novel cardioplegic solution reducing ischemia-reperfusion injury following cardiopulmonary bypass; Norbert Jost (Szeged, Hungary) on acetylcholine sensitive potassium currents in canine atrial myocytes; Béla Debreczeni (Budapest, Hungary) on contribution of hydrogen peroxide to the development of myogenic tone of venules; and Margit Solymár (Pécs, Hungary) on comparison of superoxide dismutase and hydrogen sulfide in isolated small veins. A remarkable cardiovascular scientific feeling was reflected at the various talks and sessions during the day with extraordinary poster sessions in the evening by young researchers. Particularly interesting were posters by Ágnes Balogh (Debrecen, Hungary) on mechanical and molecular alterations within the left ventricle after myocardial infarction in mice; Attila Kiss (Szeged, Hungary) on administration of sodium nitrate reduces ischemia and reperfusion induced arrhythmias in anesthetized dogs, Iva Waczulikova (Bratislava, Slovakia) on Atorvastatin depleted coenzyme Q in myocardial mitochondria and impaired mitochondrial function in rats; and by Balázs Sax (Budapest, Hungary) on correlation between cardiac morphological characteristics and matrix metalloproteinase profile in top athletes and Gergő Szücs (Szeged, Hungary) on postconditioning failed to decrease infarct size after global ischemia in isolated rat hearts. These posters were later awarded as the best presentations amongst several other interesting and exciting posters in the session.
The evening program witnessed a phenomenal organ concert at the historic cathedral of Pécs with music from Bach to traditional Hungarian folk tunes. The cathedral lies directly above the famous ruins from the Roman times, the most notable remains are the early Christian burial chambers, the earliest dating to the fourth century. The concert was followed by a very elegant dinner at the monumental Palace of the Bishop where the guests were given a treat of Hungarian tradition and culture. Professor Jan Slezak presented the Plaquette of the Slovak Academy of Sciences to Professor Elisabeth Rőth for her lifetime achievements in cardiovascular research. Professor Elisabeth Rőth as the president of the congress recalled the most memorable moments of the previous meetings and expressed her special thanks to those who has participated in all of the ISMC meetings. The Gala Dinner continued with a friendly presentation by Professor Pawan Singal celebrating the 70th birthday of Professor Jan Slezak. The evening program ended with a remarkable display of vocal and musical talent by Professor Rakesh Kukreja.
The third and last day of the symposium started with talks on myofibrillar contractile function. There were interesting talks held by Jan Slezak (Bratislava, Slovakia) on the hibernating myocardium; István Szokodi (Pécs, Hungary) on the role of adrenomedullin in the regulation of cardiac contractility, Pasi Tavi (Kuopio, Finland) on a new feedback mechanism showing CaMKII-induced suppression of L-type calcium channel expression in cardiomyocytes; Violetta Kékesi (Budapest, Hungary) on calcium dependent coronary vasodilator mechanisms; Attila Ziegelhőfer (Bratislava, Slovakia) on changes regarding mitochondrial ATP production and membrane fluidity in hypertensive animal models; and Dániel Czuriga (Debrecen, Hungary) on oxidative damage at the sarcomeric Z-disc in failing human cardiomyocytes. The symposium boasted a brilliant conclusing clinical section by Nándor Marczin (London, U.K.) on ventricular assist: from bridge to transplantation to bridge to long term recovery; Klára Farkasfalvi (Pécs, Hungary) on the potential role of apelin in myocardial recovery following end stage heart failure. The final talk was by Tanya Pintar (Ljubljana, Slovenia) on short term mechanical support for myocardial salvage. This was followed by a summary of the events of the symposium in pictures by Dr. János Lantos. As a closure of events and a take home message, Professor Elisabeth Rőth thanked her team of organizers and collaborators for making the symposium a major success in presenting and combining innovative scientific and clinical ideas regarding the subcellular mechanisms of myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury, pre- and postconditioning,
molecular targeting in left ventricular remodeling, signaling mechanisms regulating myocardial contractility in health and disease, microvascular dysfunction, therapeutic angiogenesis, myocardial regeneration and stem cells, the ageing heart, mitochondrial protection, mechanical assist for myocardial protection from basics to clinics, and several other exciting areas in cardiovascular research. The Symposium concluded with a promise for the continual support and excellence in the field of cardiovascular sciences and a great prospect for the seventh ISMC Conference to be held in 2013.