Evidence for cardiac atrophic remodeling in cancer-induced cachexia in mice

Min Tian, Michelle L. Asp, Yoshinori Nishijima, Martha A. Belury

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Cachexia is a common complication in cancer patients, which dramatically reduces quality of life and survival. In contrast to the well-studied feature of skeletal muscle loss, alterations in cardiac muscle are unclear. Recently, we reported that heart contractile function was significantly impaired in mice with colon-26 (C26) tumors, a widely used rodent model of cancer cachexia. In the present study, we investigated the potential underlying mechanisms for decreased heart function, specifically related to cardiac remodeling and atrophy. In cachectic mice bearing C26 tumors compared to mice without tumors, there was a gene expression pattern for cardiac remodeling, including increased BNP and c-fos, decreased PPARα and its responsive gene CPT1β, and a switch from 'adult' isoforms (MHCα, GLUT4) to 'fetal' isoforms (MHCβ and GLUT1). Echocardiography identified a decreased cardiac wall thickness. RT-PCR and Western blotting revealed a decreased amount of cardiac myofibrillar proteins MHC and troponin I, induced expression of E-3 ligases (MuRF-1 and Atrogin-1) and increased protein ubiquitination, providing evidence for cardiac atrophy in mice with cancer cachexia. Regulatory signaling pathways mediating these changes may include p44/42 MAPK. Together, these data provide evidence that pathways leading to cardiac remodeling and atrophy occur in mice with C26 cachexia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1321-1326
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Oncology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrogin-1
  • MuRF-1
  • Myosin heavy chain
  • Troponin I


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