Cardiac myocyte apoptosis provokes adverse cardiac remodeling in transgenic mice with targeted TNF overexpression

David Engel, Ronald Peshock, Robert C. Armstong, Natarajan Sivasubramanian, Douglas L. Mann

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Although cardiac myocyte apoptosis has been detected in explanted hearts from patients with end-stage dilated and ischemic cardiomyopathy, the relative contribution of apoptotic cell death to left ventricular (LV) remodeling and cardiac decompensation is not known. To determine whether progressive cardiac myocyte apoptosis contributes to the transition from a hypertrophic to a dilated cardiac phenotype that is observed in transgenic myosin heavy chain secreted TNF (MHCsTNF) mice with cardiac restricted overexpression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF), we assessed cardiac myocyte apoptosis (using a DNA ligase technique) in MHCsTNF mice and littermate control mice in relation to serial changes in LV structure, which was assessed using MRI. The prevalence of cardiac myocyte apoptosis increased progressively from 4 to 12 wk as the hearts of the MHCsTNF mice underwent the transition from a concentric hypertrophic to a dilated cardiac phenotype. Treatment of the MHCsTNF mice with the broad-based caspase inhibitor N-[(1,3-dimethylindole-2-carbonyl)-valinyl]-3-amino4-oxo-5- fluoropentanoic acid significantly decreased cardiac myocyte apoptosis and significantly attenuated LV wall thinning and adverse cardiac remodeling. Additional studies suggested that the TNF-induced decrease in Bcl-2 expression and activation of the intrinsic mitochondrial death pathway were responsible for the cardiac myocyte apoptosis observed in the MHCsTNF mice. These studies show that progressive cardiac myocyte apoptosis is sufficient to contribute to adverse cardiac remodeling in the adult mammalian heart through progressive LV wall thinning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1303-H1311
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number3 56-3
StatePublished - Sep 2004


  • Caspase
  • Cell death
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Tumor necrosis factor


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