Mechanical unloading of the heart with a left ventricular assist device (LVAD) significantly decreases mortality in patients with heart failure. Moreover, it provides a human model to define the critical regulatory genes governing myocardial remodeling in response to significant reductions in wall stress. Statistical analysis of a gene expression library of 19 paired human heart samples harvested at the time of LVAD implant and again at explant revealed a set of 22 genes that were downregulated and 85 genes that were upregulated in response to mechanical unloading with a false discovery rate of less than 1%. The analysis revealed a high percentage of genes involved in the regulation of vascular networks including neuropilin-1 (a VEGF receptor), FGF9, Sproutyl, stromal-derived factor 1, and endomucin. Taken together these findings suggest that mechanical unloading alters the regulation of vascular organization and migration in the heart. In addition to vascular signaling networks, GATA-4 binding protein, a critical mediator of myocyte hypertrophy, was significantly downregulated following mechanical unloading. In summary, these findings may have important implications for defining the role of mechanical stretch and load on autocrine/paracrine signals directing vascular organization in the failing human heart and the role of GATA-4 in orchestrating reverse myocardial remodeling. This unbiased gene discovery approach in paired human heart samples has the potential to provide critical clues to the next generation of therapeutic treatments aimed at heart failure.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Jul 2004|