Myosin heavy chain expression and atrophy in rat skeletal muscle during transition from cardiac hypertrophy to heart failure
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The purpose of this investigation was to determine whether changes in myosin heavy chain (MHC) expression and atrophy in rat skeletal muscle are observed during transition from cardiac hypertrophy to chronic heart failure (CHF) induced by aortic stenosis (AS). AS and control animals were studied 12 and 18 weeks after surgery and when overt CHF had developed in AS animals, 28 weeks after the surgery. The following parameters were studied in the soleus muscle: muscle atrophy index (soleus weight/body weight), muscle fibre diameter and frequency and MHC expression. AS animals presented decreases in both MHC1 and type I fibres and increases in both MHC2a and type IIa fibres during late cardiac hypertrophy and CHF. Type IIa fibre atrophy occurred during CHF. In conclusion, our data demonstrate that skeletal muscle phenotype changes occur in both late cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure; this suggests that attention should be given to the fact that skeletal muscle phenotype changes occur prior to overt heart failure symptoms.