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Anatol J Cardiol. 2017 Oct;18(4):281-288. doi: 10.14744/AnatolJCardiol.2017.7831. Epub 2017 Aug 11.

Role of sympathetic cotransmitter galanin on autonomic balance in heart failure: an active player or a bystander?

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Department of Cardiology, Faculty of Medicine, Namık Kemal University; Tekirdağ-Turkey.



Galanin, a cotransmitter similar to neuropeptide Y (NPY), aggravates autonomic imbalance in systolic heart failure (HF) by attenuating vagal tonus after burst sympathetic activity. In animal HF models, galanin antagonists have improved cardiac function. To determine whether galanin is a promising therapeutic target in HF, we studied its concentrations in HF patients and evaluated its correlation with NPY, markers of humoral activity such as pro-BNP and copeptin, and echocardiographic parameters of HF severity.


After recording demographic and echocardiographic characteristics of 87 individuals (57 HF patients and 30 control subjects), fasting serum concentrations of galanin, NPY, copeptin, and pro-BNP were determined.


Unlike pro-BNP, copeptin, and NPY, which were significantly elevated in HF patients (p<0.001, p<0.001, and p=0.001, respectively), galanin was similar in HF patients and control subjects (p=0.9). NPY correlated with the echocardiographic parameters of HF severity (r=-0.22, p=0.03 for EF; r=0.3, p=0.005 for Tei index of RV; r=-0.23, p=0.03 for TAPSE; and r=0.24, p=0.024 for E/e') and pro-BNP (r=0.22, p=0.046). NPY levels were also associated with beta blocker (BB) use, wherein BB significantly decreased NPY in both HF patients and control subjects. Galanin correlated with humoral biomarkers, pro-BNP and copeptin (r=0.39, p<0.001 and r=0.41, p<0.001, respectively). Although current smoking, BB therapy, pro-BNP, copeptin, and body mass index were associated with galanin in univariate analyses, the multiple linear regression model revealed that pro-BNP was the only significant determinant of galanin levels in HF patients.


Our findings confirmed the role of NPY in autonomic balance and suggest that galanin is associated with the proadrenergic state, but its role in HF in humans remains unclear.

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