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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2003 Oct;285(4):H1521-7. Epub 2003 Jun 12.

Cyclical mechanical stretch-induced apoptosis in myocytes from young rats but necrosis in myocytes from old rats.

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Department of Physiology, Martin-Luther-University Halle/Wittenberg, 6 Magdeburger St., D-06097 Halle, Germany.


Mechanical load as stimulus for apoptosis and necrosis could be responsible for the loss of cardiomyocytes. Ventricular myocytes from young (3 mo) and old (14-24 mo) rats underwent cyclical mechanical stretch (CMS; 5% elongation, 1 Hz) for 24 h. Spontaneous apoptosis was in myocytes from young rats 0.33 +/- 0.12% and from old rats 1.05 +/- 0.35% [Tdt-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) assay]; associated with a decrease of Bcl-2. CMS increased the apoptosis to 0.58 +/- 0.18% in myocytes from young rats. Western blot analysis showed that CMS reduced Bcl-2 and increased p53 (young rats). Bax was not changed by CMS. These were confirmed by cytochrome c release (31 +/- 13%) and by the enrichment of cytosolic nucleosomes (11 +/- 8%). CMS did not influence the apoptosis in myocytes from old rats (TUNEL assay, Bcl-2, Bax, or p53). CMS did not cause necrosis in myocytes from young rats. CMS increased the number of necrotic cells by showing the cell membrane rupture in myocytes from old rats (50 +/- 13% 5-hexadecanoylaminofluorescein-positive and 38 +/- 6% propidium iodide-positive cells) as well as by measuring the lactate dehydrogenase release. The results suggest that CMS-induced apoptosis in myocytes of young rats but necrosis in myocytes from old rats, which could be attributed to more stress sensitivity of cells from old rats.

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