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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2005 Oct;289(4):H1643-51. Epub 2005 Jun 10.

GH-releasing peptides improve cardiac dysfunction and cachexia and suppress stress-related hormones and cardiomyocyte apoptosis in rats with heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, School of Basic Medicine, Peking Union Medical College, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences, Beijing, China.


Growth hormone (GH)-releasing peptides (GHRP), a class of synthetic peptidyl GH secretagogues, have been reported to exert a cardioprotective effect on cardiac ischemia. However, whether GHRP have a beneficial effect on chronic heart failure (CHF) is unclear, and the present work aims to clarify this issue. At 9 wk after pressure-overload CHF was created by abdominal aortic banding in rats, one of four variants of GHRP (GHRP-1, -2, and -6 and hexarelin, 100 mug/kg) or saline was injected subcutaneously twice a day for 3 wk. Echocardiography and cardiac catheterization were performed to monitor cardiac function and obtain blood samples for hormone assay. GHRP treatment significantly improved left ventricular (LV) function and remodeling in CHF rats, as indicated by increased LV ejection fraction, LV end-systolic pressure, and diastolic posterior wall thickness and decreased LV end-diastolic pressure and LV end-diastolic dimension. GHRP also significantly alleviated development of cardiac cachexia, as shown by increases in body weight and tibial length in CHF rats. Plasma CA, renin, ANG II, aldosterone, endothelin-1, and atrial natriuretic peptide were significantly elevated in CHF rats but were significantly decreased in GHRP-treated CHF rats. GHRP suppressed cardiomyocyte apoptosis and increased cardiac GH secretagogue receptor mRNA expression in CHF rats. GHRP also decreased myocardial creatine kinase release in hypophysectomized rats subjected to acute myocardial ischemia. We conclude that chronic administration of GHRP alleviates LV dysfunction, pathological remodeling, and cardiac cachexia in CHF rats, at least in part by suppressing stress-induced neurohormonal activations and cardiomyocyte apoptosis.

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