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J Cardiovasc Transl Res. 2009 Dec;2(4):483-92. doi: 10.1007/s12265-009-9132-7. Epub 2009 Oct 1.

Experimental therapies in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

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Center for Cardiovascular Genetics, St. Luke's Episcopal Hospital and Texas Heart Institute, Brown Foundation Institute of Molecular Medicine, The Unversity of Texas Health Science Center, Houston, TX 77030, USA.


The quintessential clinical diagnostic phenotype of human hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is primary cardiac hypertrophy. Cardiac hypertrophy is also a major determinant of mortality and morbidity including the risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD) in patients with HCM. Reversal and attenuation of cardiac hypertrophy and its accompanying fibrosis is expected to improve morbidity as well as decrease the risk of SCD in patients with HCM.The conventionally used pharmacological agents in treatment of patients with HCM have not been shown to reverse or attenuate established cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis. An effective treatment of HCM has to target the molecular mechanisms that are involved in the pathogenesis of the phenotype. Mechanistic studies suggest that cardiac hypertrophy in HCM is secondary to activation of various hypertrophic signaling molecules and, hence, is potentially reversible. The hypothesis is supported by the results of genetic and pharmacological interventions in animal models. The results have shown potential beneficial effects of angiotensin II receptor blocker losartan, mineralocorticoid receptor blocker spironolactone, 3-hydroxy-3-methyglutaryl-coenzyme A reductase inhibitors simvastatin and atorvastatin, and most recently, N-acetylcysteine (NAC) on reversal or prevention of hypertrophy and fibrosis in HCM. The most promising results have been obtained with NAC, which through multiple thiol-responsive mechanisms completely reversed established cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis in three independent studies. Pilot studies with losartan and statins in humans have established the feasibility of such studies. The results in animal models have firmly established the reversibility of established cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis in HCM and have set the stage for advancing the findings in the animal models to human patients with HCM through conducting large-scale efficacy studies.

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