[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Microtubules are components of the cardiac cytoskeleton that can proliferate in response to pressure-overload in animal and human heart failure. We wished to test whether there was a proliferation of the microtubule cytoskeleton in the right ventricle of rats with pulmonary hypertension induced by monocrotaline (MCT) and whether this contributed to contractile dysfunction. Male Wistar rats were injected with 60mg/kg of MCT in saline or an equivalent volume of saline (CON). MCT produced clinical signs of heart failure within 4weeks of injection. Expression of right ventricular mRNA for α-tubulin was measured by real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction. Free and polymerised fractions of β-tubulin protein were assessed using Western blot analysis and immunofluorescence microscopy was used to assess tyrosinated and acetylated (stabilized) microtubules. Right ventricular myocyte contraction was measured in response to the microtubule de-polymeriser colchicine (10μmol/l for at least 1h). Compared to CON, in MCT right ventricles there was a small but statistically significant increase in the expression of mRNA for α-tubulin (P<0.001); total (P<0.05) and polymerised fraction (P<0.01) of β-tubulin protein and level of acetylated tubulin (P<0.01). However colchicine treatment did not increase the contraction of MCT myocytes (P>0.05) or affect their response to increased stimulation frequency. Our observations support the hypothesis that microtubule proliferation is a common response to pulmonary hypertension in failing right ventricles but suggest that the effect this has on contraction depends upon the specific experimental or clinical conditions that prevail and the subsequent level of microtubule proliferation.
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 12/2012; · 5.15 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Pulmonary hypertension provokes right heart failure and arrhythmias. Better understanding of the mechanisms underlying these arrhythmias is needed to facilitate new therapeutic approaches for the hypertensive, failing right ventricle (RV). The aim of our study was to identify the mechanisms generating arrhythmias in a model of RV failure induced by pulmonary hypertension. Rats were injected with monocrotaline to induce either RV hypertrophy or failure or with saline (control). ECGs were measured in conscious, unrestrained animals by telemetry. In isolated hearts, electrical activity was measured by optical mapping and myofiber orientation by diffusion tensor-MRI. Sarcoplasmic reticular Ca(2+) handling was studied in single myocytes. Compared with control animals, the T-wave of the ECG was prolonged and in three of seven heart failure animals, prominent T-wave alternans occurred. Discordant action potential (AP) alternans occurred in isolated failing hearts and Ca(2+) transient alternans in failing myocytes. In failing hearts, AP duration and dispersion were increased; conduction velocity and AP restitution were steeper. The latter was intrinsic to failing single myocytes. Failing hearts had greater fiber angle disarray; this correlated with AP duration. Failing myocytes had reduced sarco(endo)plasmic reticular Ca(2+)-ATPase activity, increased sarcoplasmic reticular Ca(2+)-release fraction, and increased Ca(2+) spark leak. In hypertrophied hearts and myocytes, dysfunctional adaptation had begun, but alternans did not develop. We conclude that increased electrical and structural heterogeneity and dysfunctional sarcoplasmic reticular Ca(2+) handling increased the probability of alternans, a proarrhythmic predictor of sudden cardiac death. These mechanisms are potential therapeutic targets for the correction of arrhythmias in hypertensive, failing RVs.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Exercise intolerance is a cardinal symptom of right ventricular heart failure (RV HF) and skeletal muscle adaptations play a role in this limitation. We determined regional remodeling of muscle structure and mitochondrial function in a rat model of RV HF induced by monocrotaline injection (MCT; 60 mg·kg(-1); n = 11). Serial sections of the plantaris were stained for fiber type, succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activity and capillaries. Mitochondrial function was assessed in permeabilized fibers using respirometry, and isolated complex activity by blue native gel electrophoresis (BN PAGE). All measurements were compared with saline-injected control animals (CON; n = 12). Overall fiber cross-sectional area was smaller in MCT than CON: 1,843 ± 114 vs. 2,322 ± 120 μm(2) (P = 0.009). Capillary-to-fiber ratio was lower in MCT in the oxidative plantaris region (1.65 ± 0.09 vs. 1.93 ± 0.07; P = 0.03), but not in the glycolytic region. SDH activity (P = 0.048) and maximal respiratory rate (P = 0.012) were each ∼15% lower in all fibers in MCT. ADP sensitivity was reduced in both skeletal muscle regions in MCT (P = 0.032), but normalized by rotenone. A 20% lower complex I/IV activity in MCT was confirmed by BN PAGE. MCT-treatment was associated with lower mitochondrial volume density (lower SDH activity), quality (lower complex I activity), and fewer capillaries per fiber area in oxidative skeletal muscle. These features are consistent with structural and functional remodeling of the determinants of oxygen supply potential and utilization that may contribute to exercise intolerance and reduced quality of life in patients with RV HF.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mechanisms associated with right ventricular (RV) hypertension and arrhythmias are less understood than those in the left ventricle (LV). The aim of our study was to investigate whether and by what mechanisms a proarrhythmic substrate exists in a rat model of RV hypertension and hypertrophy. Rats were injected with monocrotaline (MCT; 60 mg/kg) to induce pulmonary artery hypertension or with saline (CON). Myocardial levels of mRNA for genes expressing ion channels were measured by real-time RT-PCR. Monophasic action potential duration (MAPD) was recorded in isolated Langendorff-perfused hearts. MAPD restitution was measured, and arrhythmias were induced by burst stimulation. Twenty-two to twenty-six days after treatment, MCT animals had RV hypertension, hypertrophy, and decreased ejection fractions compared with CON. A greater proportion of MCT hearts developed sustained ventricular tachycardias/fibrillation (0.83 MCT vs. 0.14 CON). MAPD was prolonged in RV and less so in the LV of MCT hearts. There were decreased levels of mRNA for K(+) channels. Restitution curves of MCT RV were steeper than CON RV or either LV. Dispersion of MAPD was greater in MCT hearts and was dependent on stimulation frequency. Computer simulations based on ion channel gene expression closely predicted experimental changes in MAPD and restitution. We have identified a proarrhythmic substrate in the hearts of MCT-treated rats. We conclude that steeper RV electrical restitution and rate-dependant RV-LV action potential duration dispersion may be contributing mechanisms and be implicated in the generation of arrhythmias associated with in RV hypertension and hypertrophy.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regular exercise can lead to electrical remodelling of the heart. The cellular mechanisms associated with these changes are not well understood, and are difficult to study in human tissue but are important given that exercise is recommended to the general population. We have investigated the role played by the transient outward K+ current (I(to)) in the changes in electrical activity seen in response to voluntary exercise training in rats. Female rats undertook 6 weeks of voluntary wheel running exercise (TRN) or were sedentary controls (SED). Monophasic action potentials (MAPs) were recorded from the surface of whole hearts. Whole cell patch clamp recordings of I(to); mRNA and protein levels of selected targets in sub-epicardial (EPI) and sub-endocardial myocardium of SED and TRN hearts were compared. In TRN rats, heart weight:body weight was significantly increased and epicardial MAPs significantly prolonged. I(to) density was reduced in TRN EPI myocytes, such that the transmural gradient of I(to) was significantly reduced (P < 0.05). Computer modelling of these changes in I(to) predicted the observed changes in action potential profile. However, transmural gradients in mRNA and protein expression for Kv4.2 or mRNA levels of the Kv4.2 regulators; KChIP2 and Irx-5 were not significantly altered by voluntary exercise. We conclude that voluntary exercise electrical remodelling is caused, at least in part, by a decrease in EPI I(to), possibly because of fewer functional channels in the membrane, which results in a fall in the transmural action potential duration gradient.
Archiv für Kreislaufforschung 05/2009; 104(6):643-52. · 7.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Regular exercise is beneficial to cardiovascular health. We tested whether mild voluntary exercise training modifies key myocardial parameters [ventricular mass, intracellular calcium ([Ca2+]i) handling and the response to beta-adrenoceptor (beta-AR) stimulation] in a manner distinct from that reported for beneficial, intensive training and pathological hypertrophic stimuli. Female rats performed voluntary wheel-running exercise for 6-7 weeks. The mRNA expression of target proteins was measured in left ventricular tissue using real-time reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction. Simultaneous measurement of cell shortening and [Ca2+]i transients were made in single left ventricular myocytes and the inotropic response to beta1- and beta2-AR stimulation was measured. Voluntary exercise training resulted in cardiac hypertrophy, the heart weight to body weight ratio being significantly greater in trained compared with sedentary animals. However, voluntary exercise caused no significant alteration in the size or time course of myocyte shortening and [Ca2+]i transients or in the mRNA levels of key proteins that regulate Ca2+ handling. The positive inotropic response to beta1-AR stimulation and the level of beta1-AR mRNA were unaltered by voluntary exercise but both mRNA levels and inotropic response to beta2-AR stimulation were significantly reduced in trained animals. The beta2-AR inotropic response was restored by exposure to pertussis toxin. We propose that in contrast to pathological stimuli and to beneficial, intense exercise training, modulation of Ca2+ handling is not a major adaptive mechanism in the response to mild voluntary exercise. In addition, and in a reversal of the situation seen in heart failure, voluntary exercise training maintains the beta1-AR response but reduces the beta2-AR response. Therefore, although voluntary exercise induces cardiac hypertrophy, there are distinct differences between its effects on key myocardial regulatory mechanisms and those of hypertrophic stimuli that eventually cause cardiac decompensation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mechanical stimulation has important consequences for myocardial function. However, this stimulation and the response to it, is not uniform. The right ventricle is thinner walled and operates at lower pressure than the left ventricle. Within the ventricles, differences in the orientation of myocardial fibres exist. These differences produce inhomogeneity in the stress and strain between and across the ventricles. Possibly as a result of these variations in mechanical stimulation, there are well characterised inhomogeneities in gene expression and protein function within the ventricular myocardium, for example in the transient outward K+ current and its associated Kv channels. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is becoming apparent that gradients of expression and function exist for proteins that are intimately involved in the response to mechanical stimulation in the heart, for example in the left ventricle of the rat there is a transmural gradient in mRNA and current density of the mechanosensitive two-pore domain K+ channel TREK-1 (ENDO>EPI). In healthy hearts it is assumed that these gradients are important for normal function and therefore that their disruption in diseased myocardium is involved in the dysfunction that occurs.
Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 01/2008; 97(2-3):268-81. · 2.91 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The properties of left ventricular cardiac myocytes vary transmurally. This may be related to the gradients of stress and strain experienced in vivo across the ventricular wall. We tested the hypothesis that within the rat left ventricle there are transmural differences in the expression of genes for proteins that are involved in mechanosensitive pathways and in associated physiological responses. Real time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was used to measure messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of selected targets in sub-epicardial (EPI) and sub-endocardial (ENDO) myocardium. Carbon fibres were attached to single myocytes to stretch them and to record contractility. We observed that the slow positive inotropic response to stretch was not different between EPI and ENDO myocytes and consistent with this, that the mRNA expression of two proteins implicated in the slow response, non-specific cationic mechanosensitive channels (TRPC-1) and Na/H exchanger, were not different. However, mRNA levels of other targets, e.g. the mechanosensitive K(+) channel TREK-1, Brain Natriuretic Peptide and Endothelin-1 receptor B, were significantly greater in ENDO than EPI. No targets had significantly greater mRNA levels in EPI than ENDO. On the basis of these findings, we suggest that the response of the ventricle to stretch will depend upon both the regional differences in stimuli and the relative expression of the mechanosensitive targets and that generally, stretch sensitivity is predicted to be greater in ENDO.
Pflügers Archiv - European Journal of Physiology 08/2007; 454(4):545-9. · 4.87 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We measured the contractile response of left ventricular cardiac myocytes from female rats to selective beta(1)-adrenoceptor stimulation (isoprenaline, 10(-8) M and 10(-7) M in the presence of 10(-7) M ICI 118,551 a beta2-adrenoceptor inverse agonist). A heterogenic response to stimulation, inversely related to the extent of cell shortening prior to adrenergic stimulation, was observed. Challenge of cardiac myocytes with a selective beta1-antagonist, atenolol (10(-7) M), suggests the heterogenic response is not caused by basal beta1-adrenoceptor activity. Thus, basal myocyte contractility determines the response to beta1-adrenoceptor stimulation, this should be taken into account when experimental conditions are designed.
European Journal of Pharmacology 05/2005; 512(2-3):117-20. · 2.59 Impact Factor