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Basic Res Cardiol. 2002 Jan;97(1):65-75.

Apoptosis and oncosis in the early progression of left ventricular dysfunction in the cardiomyopathic hamster.

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Shimonoseki Kosei Hospital, Department of Cardiology, Yamaguchi, Japan.


The genetic defect in the cardiomyopathic (CM) hamster is a mutation in the glycoprotein-sarcoglycan (a component of the dystrophin-glycoprotein complex). Apoptosis has been identified in skeletal muscle of dystrophin-deficient mice, and therefore the role of myocardial apoptosis in relation to oncosis in causing myocardial necrosis was assessed at the onset of left ventricular (LV) dysfunction in CM hamsters. LV size and function were evaluated in normal and CM hamsters (CHF147 line) by echocardiography at 1, 2, 3, and 5 months (mo) of age. The decrease of LV fractional shortening was found to be most marked (45%) between 1 and 2 mo of age. Apop totic nuclei were identified at each time point using in situ end-labeling of DNA strand breaks (TUNEL), together with immunolabeling of myocytes; DNA fragmentation (laddering) and nuclear morphology were also assessed. Myocyte oncotic necrosis was assessed at 2 mo by Evans blue dye (EBD), wheat germ agglutinin, hematoxylin/eosin staining, and electron microscopy. Apoptotic nuclei were not detected in age-matched normal hamsters. In the CM hamsters apoptotic myocyte nuclei comprised an average of 0.041% of myocyte nuclei between 1 and 5 mo, an increase at 2 mo (to 0.076%) was not significant, and DNA laddering was not detected. The number of myocyte nuclei per unit area decreased by 32% between 1 and 2 mo, and in 2 mo old CM hamsters myocardial staining with EBD was positive in 9.82% of the myocardial cross sectional areas examined, most of which was consistent with sarcolemmal rupture and oncosis with inflammatory cell infiltration. It is concluded that myocyte oncosis provides the major mechanism for the decreased number of myocyte nuclei and the early decrease of cardiac function between 1 and 2 mo of age in the CM hamster, with only a small contribution of myocyte apoptosis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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