Acute brain death alters left ventricular myocardial gene expression.
OBJECTIVES: The depressed myocardial function observed in brain dead organ donors has been attributed to massive sympathetic discharge and catecholamine cardiotoxicity. Because elevated catecholamines are associated with altered myocardial gene expression, we investigated whether acute brain death from increased intracranial pressure alters the expression of myocardial gene products important in contractility. METHODS: A balloon expansion model was used to increase intracranial pressure in rabbits (n = 22). At timed intervals after brain death, mean arterial pressure, heart rate, electrocardiograms, histologic myocardial injury, and systemic catecholamines were assessed. Messenger RNA levels encoding myofilaments, adrenergic receptors, sarcoplasmic reticulum proteins, transcription factors, and stress-induced programs were measured with blot hybridization of total left ventricular RNA. RESULTS: Increased intracranial pressure induced an immediate pressor response that temporally coincided with diffuse electrocardiographic ST segment changes. Systemic epinephrine and norepinephrine levels concurrently increased (5- to 8-fold within 1 minute), then fell below baseline within 2 hours, and remained depressed at 4 hours. By 1 hour, histologic injury was evident. Four hours after the induction of increased intracranial pressure, levels of messenger RNA-encoding skeletal and cardiac alpha-actins, egr-1, and heat shock protein 70 were significantly increased. Sham-operated animals did not exhibit these changes. CONCLUSIONS: Select changes in myocardial gene expression occur in response to increased intracranial pressure and implicate ventricular remodeling in the myocardial dysfunction associated with acute brain death.
Yeh, T; Wechsler, AS; Graham, LJ; Loesser, KE; Sica, DA; Wolfe, L; Jakoi, ER
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