32 Scopus citations


Hypertension is associated with a rise in arterial pressure and a compensatory increase in cardiac mass, which if not treated effectively, progresses to decompensated congestive heart failure. This decompensation of an initially compensatory hypertrophy has intensified interest in the factors that initiate and maintain the development of cardiac hypertrophy. The potential signals that induce the development of cardiac hypertrophy are grouped as hemodynamic, growth-promoting hormonal, vasoconstriction-promoting hormonal, and genetic factors. Growth-promoting hormones such as insulin and thyroxine appear to play a permissive, but essential, role in the development and maintenance of cardiac hypertrophy. However, changes in cardiac load, both above and below normal, result in parallel changes in cardiac mass, which will return to normal when a normal load is restored. This adaptive response of the myocardium in direct response to elevated and depressed loads demonstrates that cardiac structure, composition, and function are not fixed postneonatal cardiac properties, but instead are regulated dynamically by the cardiocyte loading environment. This adaptive response is subject to modulation by vasoconstriction-promoting hormones and genetic factors. The current thrust in this research area is to elucidate the cellular signals that transduce the physical stimulus for hypertrophy into biochemical events underlying hypertrophic cardiac growth. To remove complex systemic interactions in vivo from the experimental paradigm, several in vitro models have been used to examine three general, but distinct, cellular pathways involving protein kinase C activation, cyclic AMP formation, and increased ion fluxes. Each pathway demonstrated a stimulatory effect on general protein synthesis, which is necessary for growth in all cells. However, the enhanced synthesis of contractile proteins in the adult cardiocyte has been related to ion fluxes, but not to greater cyclic AMP or phorbol ester stimulation of protein kinase C.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)S7-S13
JournalJournal of cardiovascular pharmacology
Issue numberSUPPL. 2
StatePublished - 1991


  • Cardiac hypertrophy
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Hypertension
  • Na influx
  • Protein kinase C
  • Protein synthesis
  • Signal transduction


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