BACKGROUNDCaveolins (Cav) are structural proteins that insert into the plasma membrane to form caveolae that can bind molecules important in cardiac signal transduction and function. Cytochrome P450 epoxygenases can metabolize arachidonic acid to epoxyeicosatrienoic acids (EETs) which have known cardioprotective effects. Subsequent metabolism of EETs by soluble epoxide hydrolase reduces the protective effect.AIMS(1) To assess the effect of ischemia-reperfusion injury on expression and subcellular localization of caveolins. (2) To study the effect of EETs on caveolins.METHODSHearts from soluble epoxide hydrolase null (KO) and littermate control (WT) mice were perfused in Langendorff mode and subjected to 20 minutes ischemia followed by 40 minutes reperfusion. Immunohistochemistry, immunoblot, and electron microscopy were performed to study localization of caveolins and changes in ultrastructure.RESULTSIn WT heart, Cav-1 and Cav-3 were present in cardiomyocyte and capillary endothelial cell at baseline. After ischemia, Cav-1 but not Cav-3, disappeared from cardiomyocyte; moreover, caveolae were absent and mitochondrial cristae were damaged. Improved postischemic functional recovery observed in KO or WT hearts treated with 11,12-EET corresponded to higher Cav-1 expression and maintained caveolae structure. In addition, KO mice preserved the Cav-1 signaling after ischemia that lost in WT mice.CONCLUSIONSTaken together, our data suggest that ischemia-reperfusion injury causes loss of Cav-1 and caveolins, and EETs-mediated cardioprotection involves preservation of Cav-1.