Changes in gene expression in the intact human heart: Downregulation of α-myosin heavy chain in hypertrophied, failing ventricular myocardium

Brian D. Lowes, Wayne Minobe, William T. Abraham, Mona N. Rizeq, Teresa J. Bohlmeyer, Robert A. Quaife, Robert L. Roden, Darrin L. Dutcher, Alastair O. Robertson, Norbert F. Voelkel, David B. Badesch, Bertron M. Groves, Edward M. Gilbert, Michael R. Bristow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

427 Scopus citations


Using quantitative RT-PCR in RNA from right ventricular (RV) endomyocardial biopsies from intact nonfailing hearts, and subjects with moderate RV failure from primary pulmonary hypertension (PPH) or idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC), we measured expression of genes involved in regulation of contractility or hypertrophy. Gene expression was also assessed in LV (left ventricular) and RV free wall and RV endomyocardium of hearts from end-stage IDC subjects undergoing heart transplantation or from nonfailing donors. In intact failing hearts, downregulation of β1-receptor mRNA and protein, upregulation of atrial natriuretic peptide mRNA expression, and increased myocyte diameter indicated similar degrees of failure and hypertrophy in the IDC and PPH phenotypes. The only molecular phenotypic difference between PPH and IDC RVs was upregulation of β2-receptor gene expression in PPH but not IDC. The major new findings were that (a) both nonfailing intact and explanted human ventricular myocardium expressed substantial amounts of α-myosin heavy chain mRNA (α-MHC, 23-34% of total), and (b) in heart failure α-MHC was down-regulated (by 67-84%) and β-MHC gene expression was up-regulated. We conclude that at the mRNA level nonfailing human heart expresses substantial α-MHC. In myocardial failure this alteration in gene expression of MHC isoforms, if translated into protein expression, would decrease myosin ATPase enzyme velocity and slow speed of contraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2315-2324
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Clinical Investigation
Issue number9
StatePublished - Nov 1 1997
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial natriuretic peptide
  • Sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca ATPase
  • α-myosin heavy chain
  • β-adrenergic receptors
  • β-myosin heavy chain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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