Increased Rho kinase activity in congestive heart failure

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AimsRho kinases (ROCKs) are the best characterized effectors of the small G-protein RhoA, and play a role in enhanced vasoconstriction in animal models of congestive heart failure (CHF). This study examined if ROCK activity is increased in CHF and how it is associated with the outcome in CHF.Methods and resultsPatients admitted with CHF (n =178), disease controls (n =31), and normal subjects (n =30) were studied. Baseline ROCK activity was measured by phosphorylation of themyosin-binding subunit in peripheral leucocytes. The patients were followed up for 14.4 ± 7.2 months (range 0.5–26 months) or until the occurrence of cardiac death. The ROCK activity in CHF patients (2.93 ± 0.87) was significantly higher than that of the disease control (2.06 ± 0.38, P < 0.001) and normal control (1.57 ± 0.43, P < 0.001) groups. Similarly, protein levels of ROCK1 and ROCK2 as well as the activity of RhoA in CHF were significantly higher than in disease controls and normal controls (all P < 0.05). Dyspnoea at rest (β =0.338, P < 0.001), low left ventricular ejection fraction (β = –0.277, P < 0.001), and high creatinine (β =0.202, P =0.006) were independent predictors of the baseline ROCK activity in CHF. Forty-five patients died within 2 years follow-up (25.3%). Combining ROCK activity and N-terminal pro brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) had an incremental value (log rank χ2 =11.62) in predicting long-term mortality when compared with only NT-proBNP (log rank χ2 =5.16, P < 0.05).ConclusionROCK activity is increased in CHF and it might be associated with the mortality in CHF. ROCK activity might be a complementary biomarker to CHF risk stratification.

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