Cytoskeletal Role in the Transition From Compensated to Decompensated Hypertrophy During Adult Canine Left Ventricular Pressure Overloading

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Abstract

Increased microtubule density causes cardiocyte contractile dysfunction in right ventricular (RV) pressure-overload hypertrophy, and these linked phenotypic and contractile abnormalities persist and progress during the transition to failure. Although more severe in cells from failing than hypertrophied RVs, the mechanical defects are normalized in each case by microtubule depolymerization. To define the role of increased microtubule density in left ventricular (LV) pressure-overload hypertrophy and failure, in a given LV we examined ventricular mechanics, sarcomere mechanics, and free tubulin and microtubule levels in control dogs and in dogs with aortic stenosis both with LV hypertrophy alone and with initially compensated hypertrophy that had progressed to LV muscle failure. In comparing initial values with those at study 8 weeks later, dogs with hypertrophy alone had a very substantial increase in LV mass but preservation of a normal ejection fraction and mean systolic wall stress. Dogs with hypertrophy and associated failure had a substantial but lesser increase in LV mass and a reduction in ejection fraction, as well as a marked increase in mean systolic wall stress. Cardiocyte contractile function was equivalent, and unaffected by microtubule depolymerization, in cells from control LVs and those with compensated hypertrophy. In contrast, cardiocyte contractile function in cells from failing LVs was quite depressed but was normalized by microtubule depolymerization. Microtubules were increased only in failing LVs. These contractile and cytoskeletal changes, when assayed longitudinally in a given dog by biopsy, appeared in failing ventricles only when wall stress began to increase and function began to decrease. Thus, the microtubule-based cardiocyte contractile dysfunction characteristic of pressure-hypertrophied myocardium, originally described in the RV, obtains equally in the LV but is shown here to have a specific association with increased wall stress. (Circ Res. 1998;82:751-761.)

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