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Open access

Hugo R Ramos, Andreas L Birkenfeld, and Adolfo J de Bold

Since their discovery in 1981, the cardiac natriuretic peptides (cNP) atrial natriuretic peptide (also referred to as atrial natriuretic factor) and brain natriuretic peptide have been well characterised in terms of their renal and cardiovascular actions. In addition, it has been shown that cNP plasma levels are strong predictors of cardiovascular events and mortality in populations with no apparent heart disease as well as in patients with established cardiac pathology. cNP secretion from the heart is increased by humoral and mechanical stimuli. The clinical significance of cNP plasma levels has been shown to differ in obese and non-obese subjects. Recent lines of evidence suggest important metabolic effects of the cNP system, which has been shown to activate lipolysis, enhance lipid oxidation and mitochondrial respiration. Clinically, these properties lead to browning of white adipose tissue and to increased muscular oxidative capacity. In human association studies in patients without heart disease higher cNP concentrations were observed in lean, insulin-sensitive subjects. Highly elevated cNP levels are generally observed in patients with systolic heart failure or high blood pressure, while obese and type-2 diabetics display reduced cNP levels. Together, these observations suggest that the cNP system plays a role in the pathophysiology of metabolic vascular disease. Understanding this role should help define novel principles in the treatment of cardiometabolic disease.

Open access

Thera P Links, Trynke van der Boom, Wouter T Zandee, and Joop D Lefrandt

Thyroid hormone stimulates cardiac inotropy and chronotropy via direct genomic and non-genomic mechanisms. Hyperthyroidism magnifies these effects, resulting in an increase in heart rate, ejection fraction and blood volume. Hyperthyroidism also affects thrombogenesis and this may be linked to a probable tendency toward thrombosis in patients with hyperthyroidism. Patients with hyperthyroidism are therefore at higher risk for atrial fibrillation, heart failure and cardiovascular mortality. Similarly, TSH suppressive therapy for differentiated thyroid cancer is associated with increased cardiovascular risk. In this review, we present the latest insights on the cardiac effects of thyroid suppression therapy for the treatment of thyroid cancer. Finally, we will show new clinical data on how to implement this knowledge into the clinical practice of preventive medicine.

Open access

M L M Barreto-Chaves, N Senger, M R Fevereiro, A C Parletta, and A P C Takano

The cardiac growth process (hypertrophy) is a crucial phenomenon conserved across a wide array of species and is critically involved in the maintenance of cardiac homeostasis. This process enables an organism to adapt to changes in systemic demand and occurs due to a plethora of responses, depending on the type of signal or stimuli received. The growth of cardiac muscle cells in response to environmental conditions depends on the type, strength and duration of stimuli, and results in adaptive physiological responses or non-adaptive pathological responses. Thyroid hormones (TH) have a direct effect on the heart and induce a cardiac hypertrophy phenotype, which may evolve to heart failure. In this review, we summarize the literature on TH function in the heart by presenting results from experimental studies. We discuss the mechanistic aspects of TH associated with cardiac myocyte hypertrophy, increased cardiac myocyte contractility and electrical remodeling, as well as the associated signaling pathways. In addition to classical crosstalk with the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), emerging work pointing to the new endocrine interaction between TH and the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) is also explored. Given the inflammatory potential of the angiotensin II peptide, this new interaction may open the door for new therapeutic approaches which target the key mechanisms responsible for TH-induced cardiac hypertrophy.

Open access

Alexander V Amram, Stephen Cutie, and Guo N Huang

Research conducted across phylogeny on cardiac regenerative responses following heart injury implicates endocrine signaling as a pivotal regulator of both cardiomyocyte proliferation and heart regeneration. Three prominently studied endocrine factors are thyroid hormone, vitamin D, and glucocorticoids, which canonically regulate gene expression through their respective nuclear receptors thyroid hormone receptor, vitamin D receptor, and glucocorticoid receptor. The main animal model systems of interest include humans, mice, and zebrafish, which vary in cardiac regenerative responses possibly due to the differential onsets and intensities of endocrine signaling levels throughout their embryonic to postnatal organismal development. Zebrafish and lower vertebrates tend to retain robust cardiac regenerative capacity into adulthood while mice and other higher vertebrates experience greatly diminished cardiac regenerative potential in their initial postnatal period that is sustained throughout adulthood. Here, we review recent progress in understanding how these three endocrine signaling pathways regulate cardiomyocyte proliferation and heart regeneration with a particular focus on the controversial findings that may arise from different assays, cellular-context, age, and species. Further investigating the role of each endocrine nuclear receptor in cardiac regeneration from an evolutionary perspective enables comparative studies between species in hopes of extrapolating the findings to novel therapies for human cardiovascular disease.

Open access

Peter D Mark, Mikkel Andreassen, Claus L Petersen, Andreas Kjaer, and Jens Faber


The aim of this study was to investigate structure and function of the heart in subclinical hyperthyroidism (SH) before and after obtaining euthyroidism by radioactive iodine treatment, using high precision and observer-independent magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology.


Cardiac MRI was performed before and after euthyroidism was obtained by radioactive iodine treatment in 12 otherwise healthy patients (11 women and one man, mean age 59 years, range 44–71 years) with a nodular goiter and SH, and compared with eight healthy controls investigated at baseline. Cardiac data were expressed as an index, as per body surface area, except for heart rate (HR) and ejection fraction.


Post-treatment cardiac MRI was performed in median 139 days after a normalized serum TSH value had been recorded. During treatment, serum TSH increased from (median (range)) 0.01 (0.01–0.09) to 0.88 (0.27–3.99) mU/l. Patients with untreated SH had increased resting HR (P<0.01) as well as cardiac index (cardiac output as per body surface area) (P<0.01) compared with controls. Obtaining euthyroidism resulted in a significant decrease in left ventricular mass index (LVMI) of 2.7 g/m2 (P=0.034), in HR of 8 bpm (P=0.001), and in cardiac index of 0.24 l/min per m2 (P=0.017).


Normalization of thyroid function by radioactive iodine treatment of SH resulted in significant reductions in clinically important heart parameters such as LVMI, HR, and cardiac index. SH should be regarded as a condition in which aggressive treatment should be considered to protect cardiac function.

Open access

Lasse Oinonen, Antti Tikkakoski, Jenni Koskela, Arttu Eräranta, Mika Kähönen, Onni Niemelä, Jukka Mustonen, and Ilkka Pörsti

Parathyroid hormone has been related with the risk of hypertension, but the matter remains controversial. We examined the association of parathyroid hormone with central blood pressure and its determinants in 622 normotensive or never-treated hypertensive subjects aged 19–72 years without diabetes, cardiovascular or renal disease, or cardiovascular medications. The methods were whole-body impedance cardiography and analyses of pulse wave and heart rate variability. Cardiovascular function was examined in sex-specific tertiles of plasma parathyroid hormone (mean concentrations 3.0, 4.3 and 6.5 pmol/L, respectively) during head-up tilt. Explanatory factors for haemodynamics were further investigated using linear regression analyses. Mean age was 45.0 (s.d. 11.7) years, BMI 26.8 (4.4) kg/m2, seated office blood pressure 141/90 (21/12) mmHg, and 309 subjects (49.7%) were male. Only five participants had elevated plasma parathyroid hormone and calcium concentrations. Highest tertile of parathyroid hormone presented with higher supine and upright aortic diastolic blood pressure (P < 0.01) and augmentation index (P < 0.01), and higher upright systemic vascular resistance (P < 0.05) than the lowest tertile. The tertiles did not present with differences in pulse wave velocity, cardiac output, or measures of heart rate variability. In linear regression analyses, parathyroid hormone was an independent explanatory factor for aortic systolic (P = 0.005) and diastolic (P = 0.002) blood pressure, augmentation index (P = 0.002), and systemic vascular resistance (P = 0.031). To conclude, parathyroid hormone was directly related to central blood pressure, wave reflection, and systemic vascular resistance in subjects without cardiovascular comorbidities and medications. Thus, parathyroid hormone may play a role in the pathophysiology of primary hypertension.

Open access

Ulrik Ø Andersen, Dijana Terzic, Nicolai Jacob Wewer Albrechtsen, Peter Dall Mark, Peter Plomgaard, Jens F Rehfeld, Finn Gustafsson, and Jens P Goetze


Neprilysin degrades natriuretic peptides in circulation and is also suggested to degrade the gut hormones gastrin and cholecystokinin. Neprilysin inhibition has become a therapeutic strategy and thus a regimen in need of further testing in terms of other hormonal axes besides natriuretic peptides. The aim of this study was to examine whether acute inhibition of neprilysin affects meal-induced responses in gastrin and cholecystokinin concentrations in healthy individuals.

Methods and results

Nine healthy young men were included in an open-labelled, randomized cross-over clinical trial. The participants received a standardized meal (25 g fat, 26 g protein, 42 g carbohydrate) on two separate days with or without a one-time dosage of sacubitril ((194 mg)/valsartan (206 mg)). Blood pressure, heart rate and blood samples were measured and collected during the experiment. Statistical differences between groups were assessed using area under the curve together with an ANOVA with a Bonferroni post hoc test. Sacubitril/valsartan increased the postprandial plasma concentrations of both gastrin and cholecystokinin (80% (AUC0-270 min, P = 0.004) and 60% (AUC0-270 min, P = 0.003), respectively) compared with the control meal. No significant hemodynamic effects were noted (blood pressure, AUC0-270 min, P = 0.86, heart rate, AUC0-270 min, P = 0.96).


Our study demonstrates that sacubitril/valsartan increases the postprandial plasma concentrations of gastrin and cholecystokinin in healthy individuals. The results thus suggest that neprilysin-mediated degradation of gastrin and cholecystokinin is physiologically relevant and may have a role in heart failure patients treated with sacubitril/valsartan.

Open access

Myrtille Fouché, Yves Bouffard, Mary-Charlotte Le Goff, Johanne Prothet, François Malavieille, Pierre Sagnard, Françoise Christin, Davy Hayi-Slayman, Arnaud Pasquer, Gilles Poncet, Thomas Walter, and Thomas Rimmelé

Only few descriptions of intraoperative carcinoid syndrome (ioCS) have been reported. The primary objective of this study was to describe ioCS. A second aim was to identify risk factors of ioCS. We retrospectively analysed patients operated for small-bowel neuroendocrine tumour in our institution between 2007 and 2015, and receiving our preventive local regimen of octreotide continuous administration. ioCS was defined as highly probable in case of rapid (<5 min) arterial blood pressure changes ≥40%, not explained by surgical/anaesthetic management and regressive ≥20% after octreotide bolus injection. Probable cases were ioCS which did not meet all criteria of highly-probable ioCS. Suspected ioCS were detected on the anaesthesia record by an injection of octreotide due to a manifestation which did not meet the criteria for highly-probable or probable ioCS. A total of 81 patients (liver metastases: 59, prior carcinoid syndrome: 49, carcinoid heart disease: 7) were included; 139 ioCS occurred in 45 patients: 45 highly probable, 67 probable and 27 suspected. ioCs was hypertensive (91%) and/or hypotensive (29%). There was no factor, including the use of vasopressors, significantly associated with the occurrence of an ioCS. All surgeries were completed and one patient died from cardiac failure 4 days after surgery. After preoperative octreotide continuous infusion, ioCS were mainly hypertensive. No ioCS risk factors, including vasopressor use, were identified. No intraoperative carcinoid crisis occurred, suggesting the clinical relevance of a standardized octreotide prophylaxis protocol.

Open access

Susanna Cirera, Sophia G Moesgaard, Nora E Zois, Nathja Ravn, Jens P Goetze, Signe E Cremer, Tom Teerlink, Páll S Leifsson, Jesper L Honge, J Michael Hasenkam, and Lisbeth H Olsen


Non-ischemic mitral regurgitation (MR) is primarily caused by myxomatous mitral valve (MV) disease leading to adaptive remodeling, enlargement, and dysfunction of the left ventricle. The aim of this study was to examine the regulation of plasma markers and several cardiac key genes in a novel porcine model of non-ischemic MR.

Methods and results

Twenty-eight production pigs (Sus scrofa) were randomized to experimental MR or sham surgery controls. MR was induced by external suture(s) through the posterior MV leaflet and quantified using echocardiography. The experimental group was subdivided into mild MR (mMR, MR=20–50%, n=10) and moderate/severe MR (sMR, MR >50%, n=6) and compared with controls (CON, MR ≤10%, n=12). Eight weeks postoperatively, follow-up examinations were performed followed by killing. Circulating concentrations of pro-atrial natriuretic peptide (proANP), l-arginine, asymmetric dimethylarginine, and symmetric dimethylarginine (SDMA) were measured. MV, anterior papillary muscle, and left ventricular free wall tissues were collected to quantify mRNA expression of eNOS (NOS3), iNOS (NOS2), MMP9, MMP14, ANP (NPPA), BNP (NPPB), and TGFB1, 2, and 3 and five microRNAs by quantitative real-time PCR. Pigs with sMR displayed markedly increased plasma proANP and SDMA concentrations compared with both controls and mMR (P<0.05). The expression of all genes examined differed significantly between the three localizations in the heart. miR-21 and miR-133a were differently expressed among the experimental groups (P<0.05).


Plasma proANP and SDMA levels and tissue expression of miR-21 and miR-133a are associated with severity of chronic MR in an experimental porcine model.

Open access

Frans H H Leenen, Mordecai P Blaustein, and John M Hamlyn

In the brain, angiotensinergic pathways play a major role in chronic regulation of cardiovascular and electrolyte homeostasis. Increases in plasma angiotensin II (Ang II), aldosterone, [Na+] and cytokines can directly activate these pathways. Chronically, these stimuli also activate a slow neuromodulatory pathway involving local aldosterone, mineralocorticoid receptors (MRs), epithelial sodium channels and endogenous ouabain (EO). This pathway increases AT1R and NADPH oxidase subunits and maintains/further increases the activity of angiotensinergic pathways. These brain pathways not only increase the setpoint of sympathetic activity per se, but also enhance its effectiveness by increasing plasma EO and EO-dependent reprogramming of arterial and cardiac function. Blockade of any step in this slow pathway or of AT1R prevents Ang II-, aldosterone- or salt and renal injury-induced forms of hypertension. MR/AT1R activation in the CNS also contributes to the activation of sympathetic activity, the circulatory and cardiac RAAS and increase in circulating cytokines in HF post MI. Chronic central infusion of an aldosterone synthase inhibitor, MR blocker or AT1R blocker prevents a major part of the structural remodeling of the heart and the decrease in LV function post MI, indicating that MR activation in the CNS post MI depends on aldosterone, locally produced in the CNS. Thus, Ang II, aldosterone and EO are not simply circulating hormones that act on the CNS but rather they are also paracrine neurohormones, locally produced in the CNS, that exert powerful effects in key CNS pathways involved in the long-term control of sympathetic and neuro-endocrine function and cardiovascular homeostasis.