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J Biol Chem. 2003 Jun 13;278(24):21761-6. Epub 2003 Mar 28.

Myoglobin protects the heart from inducible nitric-oxide synthase (iNOS)-mediated nitrosative stress.

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Institut für Herz- und Kreislaufphysiologie, Heinrich-Heine-Universität, Postfach 101007, 40001 Düsseldorf, Germany.


The role of inducible nitric-oxide synthase (iNOS) in the pathogenesis of heart failure is still a matter of controversy. In contrast to early reports favoring a contribution of iNOS because of the negative inotropic and apoptotic potential of NO, more recent clinical and experimental data question a causative role. Here we report that transgenic mice with cardiac specific iNOS-overexpression and concomitant myoglobin-deficiency (tg-iNOS+/myo-/-) develop signs of heart failure with cardiac hypertrophy, ventricular dilatation, and interstitial fibrosis. In addition, reactivation of the fetal gene expression program typical for heart failure occurs. The structural and molecular changes are accompanied by functional depression such as reduced contractility, ejection fraction, and cardiac energetics. Our findings indicate that excessive cardiac NO formation can cause heart failure; however, under normal circumstances myoglobin constitutes the important barrier that efficiently protects the heart from nitrosative stress.

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