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Lab Invest. 2000 Feb;80(2):187-97.

Cardiac dysfunction occurs in the HIV-1 transgenic mouse treated with zidovudine.

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Department of Pathology, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Ohio, USA.


Cardiomyopathy in AIDS is an increasingly important clinical problem. Mechanisms of AIDS cardiomyopathy were explored using AIDS transgenic mice that express replication-incompetent HIV-1 (NL4-3delta gag/pol). Transgenic and FVB/n mice (n = 3 to 6 per cohort) received water ad libitum with and without zidovudine (3'-azido-2',3'-deoxythymidine; AZT; 0.7 mg/ml) for 21 or 35 days. After 21 days, echocardiographic studies were performed and abundance of mRNA for cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase (SERCA2), sodium calcium exchanger (NCX1), and atrial natriuretic factor were determined individually using Northern analysis of extracts of left ventricles. After 35 days, contractile function and relaxation were analyzed in isolated work-performing hearts. Histopathological and ultrastructural (transmission electron microscopy) changes were identified. After 21 days, molecular indicators of cardiac dysfunction were found. Depressed SERCA2 and increased atrial natriuretic factor mRNA abundance occurred in left ventricles from AZT-treated transgenic mice. NCX1 abundance was unchanged. Eccentric left ventricle hypertrophy was determined echocardiographically. After 35 days, cardiac dysfunction was worst in AZT-treated and AZT-untreated transgenic mice. Decreases in the first derivative of the maximal change in left ventricle systolic pressure with respect to time (+dP/dt) occurred in transgenic mice with and without AZT. Increased half-time of relaxation and ventricular relaxation (-dP/dt) occurred in AZT-treated and -untreated transgenic mice. Increased time to peak pressure was found only in AZT-treated transgenic mice. In AZT-treated FVB/n mice, -dP/dt was decreased. Ultrastructurally, mitochondrial destruction was most pronounced in AZT-treated transgenic mice, but also was found in AZT-treated FVB/n mice. Transgenic mice that express HIV-1 demonstrate cardiac dysfunction. AZT treatment of FVB/n mice causes mitochondrial ultrastructural alterations that are similar to those in other species. In transgenic mice, AZT treatment worsens molecular and ultrastructural features of cardiomyopathy. HIV-1 constructs and AZT each contribute to cardiac dysfunction in this murine model of AIDS cardiomyopathy.

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