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Variability of the cardiomyocyte ploidy in normal human hearts.

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Institute of Developmental Biology, USSR Academy of Sciences, Moscow.


We have performed cytophotometry for DNA in isolated myocytes of the left ventricle from 16 men, aged 19-39 years, who died from various non-cardiac or pulmonary causes. The mean ploidy of myocytes varied from 3.2-3.9 c to 6.6-7.3 c in different layers of the anterior wall of the left ventricle (where c is the haploid DNA content measured by cytophotometry in Feulgen-stained preparations). There was no correlation between the layers. The percentage of binuclear cells varied from 25 to 86% and correlated in every layer with the mean ploidy value of the whole myocyte population. Approximate calculation of total ploidy revealed low values in the ventricles of some individuals, and high values in others. Averaging the values for all the hearts studied obscures this variation. Mean myocyte ploidy in different layers of the anterior wall was similar: in the external layer it was 5.1 +/- 0.3 c, in the middle layer 5.5 +/- 0.3 c and in the inner layer 4.8 +/- 0.4 c. The mean percentage of binuclear myocytes in these three layers was also similar, being 61 +/- 3%, 63 +/- 4% and 54 +/- 5%, respectively. Myocyte ploidy in tissue from the posterior wall of the left ventricle also varied, but was always higher than for the same layer of the anterior wall in the same ventricle. We propose that high or low myocyte ploidy, as well as different proportions of mono- and binucleate cells, can be a factor affecting the course and result of cardiac pathology in the absence of any changes of myocyte genome determined during early ontogenesis and representing a stable characteristic of the individual.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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