BACKGROUND: Right heart failure (RHF) is associated with worse clinical outcomes. In addition to hemodynamic perturbations, the syndrome of RHF involves liver congestion and dysfunction. The mechanisms that underlie heart-liver interactions are poorly understood and may involve secreted factors. As a first step to understand the cardiohepatic axis, we sought to elucidate the circulating inflammatory milieu in patients with RHF. METHODS: Blood samples were collected from the inferior vena cava and hepatic veins during right heart catheterization from 3 groups of patients: (1) controls with normal cardiac function, (2) patients with heart failure who did not meet all criteria of RHF, and (3) patients who met prespecified criteria for RHF defined by hemodynamic and echocardiographic parameters. We performed a multiplex protein assay to survey levels of several circulating markers and analyzed their association with mortality and the need for a left ventricular assist device or heart transplant. Finally, we leveraged publicly available single-cell RNA sequencing data and performed tissue imaging to evaluate the expression of these factors in the liver. RESULTS: In this study, RHF was associated with elevated levels of a subset of cytokines/chemokines/growth factors compared with controls. In particular, soluble CD163 (cluster of differentiation 163) and CXCL12 (chemokine [C-X-C motif] ligand 12) were higher in RHF and predicted left ventricular assist device/transplant-free survival in an independent validation cohort. Furthermore, single-cell RNA sequencing and immunohistochemistry of human liver biopsies suggest that these factors are expressed by Kupffer cells and may be liver derived. CONCLUSIONS: RHF is associated with a distinct circulating inflammatory profile. Soluble CD163 and CXCL12 are novel biomarkers that can prognosticate patient outcomes. Future studies to define how these molecules influence heart failure phenotypes and disease progression may lead to new approaches to the management of patients with RHF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E010478
JournalCirculation: Heart Failure
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2023


  • Kupffer cells
  • biopsy
  • cytokines
  • heart failure
  • hemodynamics


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