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      Effects of Chronic Therapy with Cardiac Contractility Modulation Electrical Signals on Cytoskeletal Proteins and Matrix Metalloproteinases in Dogs with Heart Failure

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          Objectives: Therapy with cardiac contractility modulation (CCM) electrical signals delivered to left ventricular (LV) muscle during the absolute refractory period improves LV systolic and diastolic function in dogs with heart failure (HF). This study examined the effects of CCM therapy on mRNA and protein expression of cytoskeletal proteins, matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitors of MMPs (TIMPs) in the LV myocardium of dogs with HF. Methods: HF was produced in 14 dogs by coronary microembolizations. Dogs were randomized to 3 months of CCM therapy (n = 7) or to sham-operated controls (n = 7). LV tissue from 6 normal (NL) dogs was used for comparison. mRNA expression was measured using reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and protein expression using Western blots. Results: Compared with NL dogs, controls showed upregulation of mRNA and protein expression of the cytoskeletal proteins tubulin and fibronectin and MMP-1, MMP-2 and MMP-9, and downregulation of the cytoskeletal protein titin. Normalized expression of all these genes and proteins was seen after CCM therapy. No differences in expression of TIMP-1 and TIMP-2 were observed among groups. Conclusions: CCM therapy normalizes expression of key cytoskeletal proteins and MMPs and may partly explain the improvement in LV function seen in HF following CCM therapy.

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          Most cited references 19

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          Effect of oral milrinone on mortality in severe chronic heart failure. The PROMISE Study Research Group.

          Milrinone, a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, enhances cardiac contractility by increasing intracellular levels of cyclic AMP, but the long-term effect of this type of positive inotropic agent on the survival of patients with chronic heart failure has not been determined. We randomly assigned 1,088 patients with severe chronic heart failure (New York Heart Association class III or IV) and advanced left ventricular dysfunction to double-blind treatment with (40 mg of oral milrinone daily (561 patients) or placebo (527 patients). In addition, all patients received conventional therapy with digoxin, diuretics, and a converting-enzyme inhibitor throughout the trial. The median period of follow-up was 6.1 months (range, 1 day to 20 months). As compared with placebo, milrinone therapy was associated with a 28 percent increase in mortality from all causes (95 percent confidence interval, 1 to 61 percent; P = 0.038) and a 34 percent increase in cardiovascular mortality (95 percent confidence interval, 6 to 69 percent; P = 0.016). The adverse effect of milrinone was greatest in patients with the most severe symptoms (New York Heart Association class IV), who had a 53 percent increase in mortality (95 percent confidence interval, 13 to 107 percent; P = 0.006). Milrinone did not have a beneficial effect on the survival of any subgroup. Patients treated with milrinone had more hospitalizations (44 vs. 39 percent, P = 0.041), were withdrawn from double-blind therapy more frequently (12.7 vs. 8.7 percent, P = 0.041), and had serious adverse cardiovascular reactions, including hypotension (P = 0.006) and syncope (P = 0.002), more often than the patients given placebo. Our findings indicate that despite its beneficial hemodynamic actions, long-term therapy with oral milrinone increases the morbidity and mortality of patients with severe chronic heart failure. The mechanism by which the drug exerts its deleterious effects is unknown.
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            Titin isoform switch in ischemic human heart disease.

            Ischemia-induced cardiomyopathy usually is accompanied by elevated left ventricular end-diastolic pressure, which follows from increased myocardial stiffness resulting from upregulated collagen expression. In addition to collagen, a main determinant of stiffness is titin, whose role in ischemia-induced left ventricular stiffening was studied here. Human heart sarcomeres coexpress 2 principal titin isoforms, a more compliant N2BA isoform and a stiffer N2B isoform. In comparison, normal rat hearts express almost no N2BA titin. Gel electrophoresis and immunoblotting were used to determine the N2BA-to-N2B titin isoform ratio in nonischemic human hearts and nonnecrotic left ventricle of coronary artery disease (CAD) patients. The average N2BA-to-N2B ratio was 47:53 in severely diseased CAD transplanted hearts and 32:68 in nonischemic transplants. In normal donor hearts and donor hearts with CAD background, relative N2BA titin content was approximately 30%. The titin isoform shift in CAD transplant hearts coincided with a high degree of modifications of cardiac troponin I, probably indicating increased preload. Immunofluorescence microscopy on CAD transplant specimens showed a regular cross-striated arrangement of titin and increased expression of collagen and desmin. Force measurements on isolated myofibrils revealed reduced passive-tension levels in sarcomeres of CAD hearts with high left ventricular end-diastolic pressure compared with sarcomeres of normal hearts. In a rat model of ischemia-induced myocardial infarction (left anterior descending coronary artery ligature), 43% of animals, but only 14% of sham-operated animals, showed a distinct N2BA titin band on gels. A titin isoform switch was observed in chronically ischemic human hearts showing extensive remodeling, which necessitated cardiac transplantation. The shift, also confirmed in rat hearts, caused reduced titin-derived myofibrillar stiffness. Titin modifications in long-term ischemic myocardium could impair the ability of the heart to use the Frank-Starling mechanism.
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              The role of the cytoskeleton in heart failure.

              The cytoskeleton of cardiac myocytes consists of actin, the intermediate filament desmin and of alpha- and beta-tubulin that form the microtubules by polymerization. Vinculin, talin, dystrophin and spectrin represent a separate group of membrane-associated proteins. In numerous experimental studies, the role of cytoskeletal alterations especially of microtubules and desmin, in cardiac hypertrophy and failure (CHF) has been described. Microtubules were found to be accumulated thereby posing an increased load on myocytes which impedes sarcomere motion and promotes cardiac dysfunction. Other groups were unable to confirm microtubular densification. The possibility exists that these changes are species, load and chamber dependent. Recently, damage of the dystrophin molecule and MLP (muscle LIM protein) were identified as possible causes of CHF. Our own studies in human hearts with chronic CHF due to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) showed that a morphological basis of reduced contractile function exists: the cytoskeletal and membrane-associated proteins are disorganized and increased in amount confirming experimental reports. In contrast, the contractile myofilaments and the proteins of the sarcomeric skeleton including titin, alpha-actinin, and myomesin are significantly decreased. These changes can be assumed to occur in stages and are here presented as a testable hypothesis: (1) The early and reversible stage as present in animal experiments is characterized by accumulation of cytoskeletal proteins to counteract an increased strain without loss of contractile material. (2) Further accumulation of microtubules and desmin to compensate for the increasing loss of myofilaments and titin represents the late clinical and irreversible state. We suggest, based on a structural basis for heart failure, an integrative view which closes the gap between changes within cardiac myocytes and the involvement of the extracellular matrix, including the development of fibrosis. These factors contribute significantly to structural ventricular remodeling and dilatation finally resulting in reduced cardiac function.

                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                June 2008
                12 December 2007
                : 110
                : 4
                : 230-237
                aDivision of Cardiovascular Medicine, Henry Ford Heart and Vascular Institute, Detroit, Mich., and bImpulse Dynamics USA, Inc., Orangeburg, N.Y., USA
                112405 Cardiology 2008;110:230–237
                © 2007 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 7, Tables: 2, References: 33, Pages: 8
                Original Research


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