Myostatin and insulin-like growth factor-1 in hypertensive heart disease: a prospective study in human heart donors

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The physiopathological mechanisms implicated in hypertensive heart disease are multi-factorial, including myocyte hypertrophy, apoptosis and myocardial remodelling. In this process, some hormonal and local growth factors have a regulatory influence. The aim of this study was to evaluate the potential role of myostatin and insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) myocardial expression in the development of hypertensive-induced cardiac damage.


Samples of human myocardium tissue from organ donors were prospectively collected and classified according to the presence of hypertension, alcohol consumption, other causes of myocardial damage and the presence of structural cardiomyopathy (CMP). Myocardial samples were studied by immunohistochemistry and myostatin, and IGF-1 myocardial expression was evaluated in all the different groups of donors. Hypertensive donors were compared to other groups.


A total of 66 heart samples from human donors were collected: 33 donors had no previous or present history of hypertension and 33 donors presented defined hypertension. Donors with hypertension presented higher myocyte cell and nuclear hypertrophy and showed similar myostatin myocardial expression as controls, but lower IGF-1 myocardial expression. Myostatin expression was significantly higher in hypertensive donors with CMP compared to non-hypertensive healthy donors. The presence of CMP of diverse origin (alcoholic, valve and coronary) also significantly increased myostatin myocardial expression.


The presence of hypertension significantly decreases IGF-1 myocardial expression. Myostatin myocardial expression increases in the presence of structural CMP either of hypertensive or other origin. These effects open the possibility of modulating hypertensive-induced cardiac damage.

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