- Mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs) have been shown to be activated in both in vitro and in vivo models of cardiac tissue in response to ischemia/reperfusion injury. We investigated whether MAPKs are activated in human heart during coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) surgery. During elective CABG surgery of 8 patients, 3 right atrial appendage biopsies were obtained at baseline, at the end of cross-clamping, and after coronary reperfusion. The expression of the p38-MAPK, c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK), and extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK1/2) MAPKs was not altered during CABG. The phosphorylation and activation of both ERK1/2 and p38-MAPK were increased approximately 2-fold by ischemia and even more (8- and 4-fold, respectively) by reperfusion. Although the ischemic period did not result in a significant activation of JNK, an approximately 6-fold increase in JNK activity could be observed after reperfusion. In conclusion, distinct activation patterns of ERK1/2, p38, and JNK MAPKs can be observed in human heart during CABG.