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      Oxytocin in cardiac ontogeny

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          Abstract

          Previous studies demonstrated the presence of oxytocin (OT) and oxytocin receptors (OTRs) in the heart. The present work provides results supporting a potential role of OT in cardiomyogenesis. Here, we show a maximal OT and OTR protein level in the developing rat heart at day 21 of gestation and postnatal days 1-4, when cardiac myocytes are at a stage of intense hyperplasia. Between postnatal days 1 and 66, OT decreased linearly in all heart chambers (4.1- to 6.6-fold). Correspondingly, immunocytochemistry demonstrated that OTRs, which were eminent in postnatal cardiomyocytes, declined with age to low levels in adults. Interestingly, in coronary vasculature, OTRs developed in endothelial cells at postnatal days 12 and 22 and achieved a plateau in adult rats. These findings suggest that OT can be involved in developmental formation of the coronary vessels. In vivo, the OT/OTR system in the fetal heart was sensitive to the actions of retinoic acid (RA), recognized as a major cardiac morphogen. RA treatment produced a significant increase (2- to 3-fold) both in the OT concentration and in the OT mRNA levels. Ex vivo, an OT antagonist inhibited RA-mediated cardiomyocyte differentiation of P19 embryonic stem cells. The decline of cardiac OT expression from infancy to adulthood of the rat and changes in cell types expressing OTR indicate a dynamic regulation of the OT system in the heart rather than constitutive expression. The results support the hypothesis that RA induces cardiomyogenesis by activation of the cardiac OT system. Copyright 2004 The National Academy of Sciencs of the USA

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          Most cited references 36

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          An analysis of the syndrome of malformations induced by maternal vitamin A deficiency. Effects of restoration of vitamin A at various times during gestation.

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            The Oxytocin Receptor System Structure Function and Regulation

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              Rat heart: a site of oxytocin production and action.

              We report here that the rat heart is a site of oxytocin (OT) synthesis and release. Oxytocin was detected in all four chambers of the heart. The highest OT concentration was in the right atrium (2128 +/- 114 pg/mg protein), which was 19-fold higher than in rat uterus but 3.3-fold lower than in the hypothalamus. OT concentrations were significantly greater in the right and left atria than in the corresponding ventricles. Furthermore, OT was released into the effluent of isolated, perfused rat heart (34.5 +/- 4.7 pg/min) and into the medium of cultured atrial myocytes. Reverse-phase HPLC purification of the heart extracts and heart perfusates revealed a main peak identical with the retention time of synthetic OT. Southern blots of reverse transcription-PCR products from rat heart revealed gene expression of specific OT mRNA. OT immunostaining likewise was found in atrial myocytes and fibroblasts, and the intensity of positive stains from OT receptors paralleled the atrial natriuretic peptide stores. Our findings suggest that heart OT is structurally identical, and therefore derived from, the same gene as the OT that is primarily found in the hypothalamus. Thus, the heart synthesizes and processes a biologically active form of OT. The presence of OT and OT receptor in all of the heart's chambers suggests an autocrine and/or paracrine role for the peptide. Our finding of abundant OT receptor in atrial myocytes supports our hypothesis that OT, directly and/or via atrial natriuretic peptide release, can regulate the force of cardiac contraction.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
                0027-8424
                1091-6490
                August 31 2004
                August 31 2004
                August 17 2004
                August 31 2004
                : 101
                : 35
                : 13074-13079
                Article
                10.1073/pnas.0405324101
                516519
                15316117
                © 2004
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