Molecular Changes in Children with Heart Failure Undergoing Left Ventricular Assist Device Therapy

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Abstract

Objective

To determine whether left ventricular assist device (LVAD) treatment in children with heart failure would result in the modification of molecular pathways involved in heart failure pathophysiology.

Study design

Forty-seven explanted hearts from children were studied (16 nonfailing control, 20 failing, and 11 failing post-LVAD implantation [F-LVAD]). Protein expression and phosphorylation states were determined by receptor binding assays and Western blots. mRNA expression was measured with real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction. To evaluate for interactions and identify correlations, 2-way ANOVA and regression analysis were performed.

Results

Treatment with LVAD resulted in recovery of total β-adrenergic receptor expression and β1-adrenergic receptor (β1-AR) in failing hearts to normal levels (β-adrenergic receptor expression: 67.2 ± 11.5 fmol/mg failing vs 99.5 ± 27.7 fmol/mg nonfailing, 104 ± 38.7 fmol/mg F-LVAD, P ≤ .01; β1-AR: 52.2 ± 10.3 fmol/mg failing vs 83.0 ± 23 fmol/mg non-failing, 76.5 ± 32.1 fmol/mg F-LVAD P ≤ .03). The high levels of G protein-coupled receptor kinase-2 were returned to nonfailing levels after LVAD treatment (5.6 ± 9.0 failing vs 1.0 ± 0.493 nonfailing, 1.0 ± 1.3 F-LVAD). Interestingly, β2-adrenergic receptor expression was significantly greater in F-LVAD (27.5 ± 12; P < .005) hearts compared with nonfailing (16.4 ± 6.1) and failing (15.1 ± 4.2) hearts. Phospholamban phosphorylation at serine 16 was significantly greater in F-LVAD (7.7 ± 11.7) hearts compared with nonfailing (1.0 ± 1.2, P = .02) and failing (0.8 ± 1.0, P = .01) hearts. Also, atrial natriuretic factor (0.6 ± 0.8) and brain natriuretic peptide (0.1 ± 0.1) expression in F-LVAD was significantly lower compared with failing hearts (2.8 ± 3.6, P = .01 and 0.6 ± 0.7, P = .02).

Conclusion

LVAD treatment in children with heart failure results in reversal of several pathologic myocellular processes, and G protein-coupled receptor kinase-2 may regulate β1-AR but not β2-adrenergic receptor expression in children with heart failure.

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