Peter Razeghi a , Martin E. Young a , Jun Ying a , Christophe Depre a , Ivan P. Uray b , June Kolesar c , Gregory L. Shipley b , Christine S. Moravec d , Peter J.A. Davies b , O.H. Frazier c , Heinrich Taegtmeyer a,c
19 July 2002
Background: We have previously shown that several metabolic genes are downregulated in the failing human heart. We now tested the hypothesis that mechanical unloading might reverse this process. Methods: Clinical data and myocardial tissue were collected from 14 failing hearts paired for the time of implantation and explantation of a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) and compared to 10 non-failing hearts. Transcript levels for key regulators of energy metabolism and for atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) were measured by real-time quantitative RT-PCR. Results: The expression of the glucose transporter 1 and 4 (GLUT1, GLUT4), muscle carnitine palmitoyl transferase-1 (mCPT-1), and uncoupling protein 3 (UCP3) were downregulated by up to 80% in the failing heart. Although LVAD treatment improved clinical markers of heart failure (decrease of left ventricular diastolic dimension and normalization of serum sodium), only UCP3 expression reversed to non-failing transcript levels following mechanical unloading. Conclusions: LVAD treatment only partially reverses depressed metabolic gene expression in the failing human heart. Reversal of depressed UCP3 expression may be an important mechanism for reducing the formation of oxygen-derived free radicals. Further studies are necessary to define the effects of mechanical unloading on post-transcriptional mechanisms.