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Eur Heart J. 1995 Dec;16 Suppl O:107-9.

The renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system and myocardial collagen matrix remodelling in congestive heart failure.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Philipps University of Marburg, Germany.


In chronic heart failure, various regulatory systems including the Frank-Starling mechanism, the neuro-hormonal response, cardiac growth and peripheral oxygen delivery may be operative. Recently, the inter-relationship of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) and cardiac growth has drawn clinical interest. In the pressure-or volume-overloaded heart, the development of myocyte growth is primarily dependent on ventricular loading. Non-myocyte cell growth involving cardiac fibroblasts may also occur but this is not primarily regulated by the haemodynamic load. Cardiac fibroblast activation is responsible for the accumulation of fibrillar type I and type III collagens within the interstitium and adventitia of intramyocardial coronary arteries. In addition to relaxation abnormalities due to impairment of sarcoplasmic Ca(2+)-ATPase activity, this remodelling of the cardiac interstitium represents a major determinant of pathological hypertrophy in that it accounts for abnormal myocardial stiffness, leading to ventricular diastolic and systolic dysfunction and ultimately the progression of symptomatic heart failure. The effector hormones of the RAAS, angiotensin II (AngII) and aldosterone (Aldo), appear to be primarily involved in promoting the adverse structural remodelling of the myocardial collagen matrix. In cultured adult cardiac fibroblasts, AngII and Aldo have been shown to stimulate collagen synthesis while AngII additionally inhibits matrix metalloproteinase I activity, which is the key enzyme for degradation of fibrillar collagen in the cardiac interstitium, leading to excessive collagen accumulation. These findings may serve as rationale as to why angiotensin converting enzyme inhibition or blockade of the RAAS represents such remedial therapy beyond the effect of simply unloading the heart in patients with congestive heart failure.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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