Early right ventricular fibrosis and reduction in biventricular cardiac reserve in the dystrophin-deficient mdx heart

Tatyana A. Meyers, DeWayne Townsend

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28 Scopus citations


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a progressive disease of striated muscle deterioration. Respiratory and cardiac muscle dysfunction are particularly clinically relevant because they result in the leading causes of death in DMD patients. Despite the clinical and physiological significance of these systems, little has been done to understand the cardiorespiratory interaction in DMD. We show here that prior to the onset of global cardiac dysfunction, dystrophin-deficient mdx mice have increased cardiac fibrosis with the right ventricle being particularly affected. Using a novel biventricular cardiac catheterization technique coupled with cardiac stress testing, we demonstrate that both the right and left ventricles have significant reductions in both systolic and diastolic function in response to dobutamine. Unstimu-lated cardiac function is relatively normal except for a significant reduction in the ventricular pressure transient duration compared with controls. These biventricular analyses also reveal the absence of a dobutamine-induced increase in isovolumic relaxation in the right ventricle of control hearts. Simultaneous assessment of biventricular pressure demonstrates a dobutamine-dependent enhancement of coupling between the ventricles in control mice, which is absent in mdx mice. Furthermore, studies probing the passive-extension properties of the left ventricle demonstrate that the mdx heart is significantly more compliant compared with age-matched C57BL/10 hearts, which have an age-dependent stiffening that is completely absent from dystrophic hearts. These new results indicate that right ventricular fibrosis is an early indicator of the development of dystrophic cardio-myopathy, suggesting a mechanism by which respiratory insufficiency may accelerate the development of heart failure in DMD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H303-H315
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 the American Physiological Society.


  • Duchenne muscular dystrophy
  • Dystrophic cardiomyopathy
  • Dystrophin
  • Right ventricle


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