Thorac Cardiovasc Surg 2006; 54(6): 381-387
DOI: 10.1055/s-2006-924267
Basic Science

© Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York

Differential Gene Expression in Response to Ventricular Unloading in Rat and Human Myocardium

T. Doenst1 , H. Bugger1 , S. Leippert1 , B. Barleon2 , D. Marme2 , F. Beyersdorf1
  • 1Department of Cardiovascular Surgery, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Freiburg i. Br., Germany
  • 2Clinic for Tumor Biology, Albert-Ludwigs University of Freiburg, Freiburg i. Br., Germany
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Received October 23, 2005

07. September 2006 (online)


Left ventricular unloading by mechanical assist devices induces myocardial atrophy. We aimed to systematically identify differentially expressed genes in a model of physiological atrophy (unloading of healthy rat myocardium) and compare these changes to those in a unloaded, failing human heart. Methods: Atrophy in rat hearts was induced by heterotopic transplantation of a donor heart into the abdomen of an isogenic recipient. After one week, donor and recipient RNA was isolated. Differential gene expression was assessed by subtractive hybridization. Two screens with radioactive probes were performed to verify differentially expressed clones. Positive clones were sequenced and cDNA of genes of known homology were used as probes for hybridization with RNA from separate atrophied rat hearts and human tissue from a normal, failing or failing and unloaded left ventricle. Results: We picked 1880 clones from the subtractive hybridization procedure (940/940: forward/reverse runs assessing up- or down-regulation, respectively). The first screen verified 465/140 and the second screen verified 67/30 clones. 24/23 clones were sequenced and 14/10 homologies to known genes were found. In the atrophied heart, respiratory chain and metabolic genes were down-regulated (NADH‐DH, cytochrome c oxidase, acetyl-CoA synthetase, myoglobin) and cellular recognition and stress genes were up-regulated (MHC1 and 2, HSP70). In the human heart, cytochrome c oxidase, acetyl-CoA synthetase, and myoglobin expression was increased in the failing heart and returned to normal with unloading. Unloading also resulted in up-regulation of HSP70. Conclusions: The genetic responses of failing human and healthy rat myocardium to mechanical unloading show similarities that appear to be independent of species differences and/or underlying disease. Thus, heterotopic heart transplantation is a relevant model for investigating the mechanisms of mechanical unloading.


MD Torsten Doenst

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University of Freiburg

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