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Basic Res Cardiol. 1989 May-Jun;84(3):247-58.

Change in cardiac myocyte size distribution in aortic-constricted neonatal rats.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.


Regional changes in cardiac myocyte size and population distribution were examined in Sprague Dawley rats receiving an abdominal aortic constriction at five days of age. At specific time intervals post-constriction, hearts were recovered from constricted animals and weight-matched controls and isolated myocytes were obtained from right and left ventricles using retrograde coronary perfusion with collagenase. Cell volume and cardiac myocyte population distribution curves were determined using a Coulter Channelyzer system. Cell length was measured directly using a Bioquant Image Analysis system. Myocyte cross-sectional area was calculated from cell volume/length. By three months of age, heart weight and heart weight-body weight ratio in constricted animals had increased by approximately 115% (p less than 0.001) in females and 85% (p less than 0.001) in males compared to controls. Between 15 and 90 days of age, the growth response, as indicated by increased cell volume, was approximately 4x greater in constricted females and 2.5x greater in constricted males compared to corresponding controls. This increase was manifested by a shift in the mean size of the myocyte population to the right and a substantial widening of the distribution. Most of the enlargement was due to increased cross-sectional area, with only a moderate contribution from increased cell length. Significant increases in size were seen in both left and right ventricles. By three months of age, a significant interaction was apparent between aortic constriction and sex. The capacity for hypertrophy was greater in the smaller myocytes in female rats of similar age compared to males. The final degree of hypertrophy was similar for male and female rats, possibly indicating a critical upper limit in cell size for cardiac myocytes.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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