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Am J Hypertens. 1989 Dec;2(12 Pt 1):931-40.

Myocardial collagen remodeling in pressure overload hypertrophy. A case for interstitial heart disease.

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  • 1Cardiovascular Institute, Michael Reese Hospital, University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine, Illinois 60616.


The accumulation of collagen within the myocardium is termed fibrosis. In left ventricular pressure overload a reactive interstitial fibrosis, having distinctive biochemical and structural features, is seen. This reactive fibrosis occurs in the absence of myocyte necrosis, is progressive in nature, and initially is an adaptive response that preserves the force generating capacity, or active (systolic) stiffness, of the hypertrophied myocardium. Later in hypertrophy a reparative (or replacement) fibrosis occurs in response to cell loss, the pathogenesis of which is not clear. Nevertheless, independently of cell loss, interstitial fibrosis can have a detrimental influence on the diastolic and systolic stiffness of the myocardium and can result in pathologic hypertrophy with heart failure. In established hypertrophy with disproportionate collagen matrix remodeling (ie, interstitial heart disease), it would be desirable to retard the continued formation of collagen and, if necessary, degrade collagen fibers that are responsible for impeding the stretching and shortening of muscle fibers. Prevention of interstitial fibrosis in pressure overload hypertrophy with pharmacologic agents with both antihypertensive and antifibrotic properties must also be considered. Future research should address these issues with a view toward developing corrective and preventative forms of therapy. Such advances will require a better understanding of cardiac fibroblast growth, collagen synthesis and the regulation of collagen gene expression in the heart.

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