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      Cancer Induces Cardiomyocyte Remodeling and Hypoinnervation in the Left Ventricle of the Mouse Heart

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          Cancer is often associated with cachexia, cardiovascular symptoms and autonomic dysregulation. We tested whether extracardiac cancer directly affects the innervation of left ventricular myocardium. Mice injected with Lewis lung carcinoma cells (tumor group, TG) or PBS (control group, CG) were analyzed after 21 days. Cardiac function (echocardiography), serum levels of TNF-α and Il-6 (ELISA), structural alterations of cardiomyocytes and their innervation (design-based stereology) and levels of innervation-related mRNA (quantitative RT-PCR) were analysed. The groups did not differ in various functional parameters. Serum levels of TNF-α and Il-6 were elevated in TG. The total length of axons in the left ventricle was reduced. The number of dense core vesicles per axon profile was reduced. Decreased myofibrillar volume, increased sarcoplasmic volume and increased volume of lipid droplets were indicative of metabolic alterations of TG cardiomyocytes. In the heart, the mRNA level of nerve growth factor was reduced whereas that of β1-adrenergic receptor was unchanged in TG. In the stellate ganglion of TG, mRNA levels of nerve growth factor and neuropeptide Y were decreased and that of tyrosine hydroxylase was increased. In summary, cancer induces a systemic pro-inflammatory state, a significant reduction in myocardial innervation and a catabolic phenotype of cardiomyocytes in the mouse. Reduced expression of nerve growth factor may account for the reduced myocardial innervation.

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          Most cited references 52

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          A three-dimensional counting rule and its integral test system, the disector, for obtaining unbiased estimates of the number of arbitrary particles in a specimen is presented. Used in combination with ordinary and recently developed stereological methods unbiased estimates of various mean particle sizes and the variance of particle volume are obtainable on sets of two parallel sections with a known separation. The same principle allows the unbiased estimation of the distribution of individual particle volumes in sets of serial sections.
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            I review evidence that leptin is a liporegulatory hormone that controls lipid homeostasis in nonadipose tissues during periods of overnutrition. When adipocytes store excess calories as triacylglycerol (TG), leptin secretion rises so as to prevent accumulation of lipids in nonadipose tissues, which are not adapted for TG storage. Whenever leptin action is lacking, whether through leptin deficiency or leptin resistance, overnutrition causes disease of nonadipose tissues with generalized steatosis, lipotoxicity, and lipoapoptosis. Examples of such disorders of liporegulation include generalized lipodystrophies, mutations of leptin and leptin receptor genes, and diet-induced obesity. Lipotoxicity of pancreatic beta-cells, myocardium, and skeletal muscle leads, respectively, to type 2 diabetes, cardiomyopathy, and insulin resistance. In humans this constellation of abnormalities is referred to as the metabolic syndrome, a major health problem in the United States. When lipids overaccumulate in nonadipose tissues during overnutrition, fatty acids enter deleterious pathways such as ceramide production, which, through increased nitric oxide formation, causes apoptosis of lipid-laden cells, such as beta-cells and cardiomyocytes. Lipoapoptosis can be prevented by caloric restriction, by thiazolidinedione treatment, and by administration of nitric oxide blockers. There is now substantial evidence that complications of human obesity may reflect lipotoxicity similar to that described in rodents.
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              Neuropeptides: opportunities for drug discovery.

              The role of peptides as signalling molecules in the nervous system has been studied for more than 30 years. Neuropeptides and their G-protein-coupled receptors are widely distributed throughout the body and they commonly occur with, and are complementary to, classic neurotransmitters. The functions of neuropeptides range from neurotransmitter to growth factor. They are present in glial cells, are hormones in the endocrine system, and are messengers in the immune system. Much evidence indicates that neuropeptides are of particular importance when the nervous system is challenged (eg, by stress, injury, or drug abuse). These features and the large number of neuropeptides and neuropeptide receptors provide many opportunities for the discovery of new drug targets for the treatment of nervous-system disorders. In fact, receptor-subtype-selective antagonists and agonists have been developed, and recently a substance P receptor (neurokinin 1) antagonist has been shown to have clinical efficacy in the treatment of major depression and chemotherapy-induced emesis. Several other neuropeptide receptor ligands are in clinical trials for various indications.

                Author and article information

                Role: Editor
                PLoS One
                PLoS ONE
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, USA )
                26 May 2011
                : 6
                : 5
                [1 ]Institute of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Justus-Liebig-University Giessen, Giessen, Germany
                [2 ]Institute of Pathology, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria
                [3 ]Division of Cardiology, Medical University Graz, Graz, Austria
                University of Padova, Italy
                Author notes

                Conceived and designed the experiments: CM SD FH AS HP SS TP WK GH. Performed the experiments: CM SD FH AS HP SS TP. Analyzed the data: CM SD FH AS HP SS TP WK GH. Contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools: CM SD FH AS HP SS TP WK GH. Wrote the paper: CM SD. Revised the manuscript critically for important intellectual content and approved the final version of the manuscript: FH AS HP SS TP WK GH.

                Mühlfeld et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
                Page count
                Pages: 11
                Research Article
                Anatomy and Physiology
                Cardiovascular System
                Cardiovascular Anatomy
                Neurological System
                Peripheral Nervous System



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