Key points: Right ventricle (RV) function is the most important determinant of survival and quality of life in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). The changes in right and left ventricle gene expression that contribute to ventricular remodelling are incompletely investigated. RV remodelling in our CTEPH swine model is associated with increased expression of the genes involved in inflammation (TGFβ), oxidative stress (ROCK2, NOX1 and NOX4), and apoptosis (BCL2 and caspase-3). Alterations in ROCK2 expression correlated inversely with RV contractile reserve during exercise. Since ROCK2 has been shown to be involved in hypertrophy, oxidative stress, fibrosis and endothelial dysfunction, ROCK2 inhibition may present a viable therapeutic target in CTEPH. Abstract: Right ventricle (RV) function is the most important determinant of survival and quality of life in patients with chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension (CTEPH). The present study investigated whether the increased cardiac afterload is associated with (i) cardiac remodelling and hypertrophic signalling; (ii) changes in angiogenic factors and capillary density; and (iii) inflammatory changes associated with oxidative stress and interstitial fibrosis. CTEPH was induced in eight chronically instrumented swine by chronic nitric oxide synthase inhibition and up to five weekly pulmonary embolizations. Nine healthy swine served as a control. After 9 weeks, RV function was assessed by single beat analysis of RV–pulmonary artery (PA) coupling at rest and during exercise, as well as by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Subsequently, the heart was excised and RV and left ventricle (LV) tissues were processed for molecular and histological analyses. Swine with CTEPH exhibited significant RV hypertrophy in response to the elevated PA pressure. RV–PA coupling was significantly reduced, correlated inversely with pulmonary vascular resistance and did not increase during exercise in CTEPH swine. Expression of genes associated with hypertrophy (BNP), inflammation (TGFβ), oxidative stress (ROCK2, NOX1 and NOX4), apoptosis (BCL2 and caspase-3) and angiogenesis (VEGFA) were increased in the RV of CTEPH swine and correlated inversely with RV–PA coupling during exercise. In the LV, only significant changes in ROCK2 gene-expression occurred. In conclusion, RV remodelling in our CTEPH swine model is associated with increased expression of genes involved in inflammation and oxidative stress, suggesting that these processes contribute to RV remodelling and dysfunction in CTEPH and hence represent potential therapeutic targets.
Stam, K., Cai, Z., van der Velde, N., van Duin, R., Lam, E., van der Velden, J., ... Merkus, D. (2019). Cardiac remodelling in a swine model of chronic thromboembolic pulmonary hypertension: comparison of right vs. left ventricle. Journal of Physiology, 597(17), 4465-4480. https://doi.org/10.1113/JP277896