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Open access

Peter Wolf, Yvonne Winhofer, Martin Krššák and Michael Krebs

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in general population. Besides well-known risk factors such as hypertension, impaired glucose tolerance and dyslipidemia, growing evidence suggests that hormonal changes in various endocrine diseases also impact the cardiac morphology and function. Recent studies highlight the importance of ectopic intracellular myocardial and pericardial lipid deposition, since even slight changes of these fat depots are associated with alterations in cardiac performance. In this review, we overview the effects of hormones, including insulin, thyroid hormones, growth hormone and cortisol, on heart function, focusing on their impact on myocardial lipid metabolism, cardiac substrate utilization and ectopic lipid deposition, in order to highlight the important role of even subtle hormonal changes for heart function in various endocrine and metabolic diseases.

Open access

Marianne Aa Grytaas, Kjersti Sellevåg, Hrafnkell B Thordarson, Eystein S Husebye, Kristian Løvås and Terje H Larsen

Background

Primary aldosteronism (PA) is associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity, presumably due to left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and fibrosis. However, the degree of fibrosis has not been extensively studied. Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR) contrast enhancement and novel sensitive T1 mapping to estimate increased extracellular volume (ECV) are available to measure the extent of fibrosis.

Objectives

To assess LV mass and fibrosis before and after treatment of PA using CMR with contrast enhancement and T1 mapping.

Methods

Fifteen patients with newly diagnosed PA (PA1) and 24 age- and sex-matched healthy subjects (HS) were studied by CMR with contrast enhancement. Repeated imaging with a new scanner with T1 mapping was performed in 14 of the PA1 and 20 of the HS median 18 months after specific PA treatment and in additional 16 newly diagnosed PA patients (PA2).

Results

PA1 had higher baseline LV mass index than HS (69 (53–91) vs 51 (40–72) g/m2; P < 0.001), which decreased significantly after treatment (58 (40–86) g/m2; P < 0.001 vs baseline), more with adrenalectomy (n = 8; −9 g/m2; P = 0.003) than with medical treatment (n = 6; −5 g/m2; P = 0.075). No baseline difference was found in contrast enhancement between PA1 and HS. T1 mapping showed no increase in ECV as a myocardial fibrosis marker in PA. Moreover, ECV was lower in the untreated PA2 than HS 10 min post-contrast, and in both PA groups compared with HS 20 min post-contrast.

Conclusion

Specific treatment rapidly reduced LV mass in PA. Increased myocardial fibrosis was not found and may not represent a common clinical problem.

Open access

Wang Chengji and Fan Xianjin

Objective

To investigate the biological mechanism of the effect of different intensity exercises on diabetic cardiomyopathy.

Methods

87 raise specific pathogen SPF healthy 6-week-old male Sprague–Dawley rats, fed 6 weeks with high-fat diet for rats were used, and a diabetic model was established by intraperitoneal injection of streptozotocin – randomly selected 43 rats were divided into Diabetic control group (DCG, n = 10), Diabetic exercise group 1 (DEG1, n = 11), Diabetic exercise group 2 (DEG2, n = 11) and Diabetic exercise group 3 (DEG3, n = 11). The rats in DEG1 were forced to run on a motorized treadmill, the exercise load consisted of running at a speed of 10 m/min, the exercise load of the rats in DEG2 were running at a speed of 15 m/min, the exercise load of the rats in DEG3 were running at a speed of 20 m/min, for one hour once a day for 6 weeks. After 6 weeks of exercise intervention, glucose metabolism-related indexes in rats such as blood glucose (FBG), glycosylated serum protein (GSP) and insulin (FINS); cardiac fibrinolytic system parameters such as PAI-1 (plasminogen activator inhibitor 1), Von Willebrand factor (vWF), protein kinase C (PKC) and diacylglycerol (DAG); and serum level of NO, eNOS and T-NOS were measured.

Result

Compared with DCG, fasting blood glucose and GSP were decreased, while insulin sensitivity index and insulin level were increased in all rats of the three exercise groups. FBG decrease was statistically significant (P < 0.01), only GSP decrease was statistically significant (P < 0.05) in DEG1 and DEG2, PAI-1 in three exercise groups were significantly reduced (P < 0.05), plasma vWF levels in the three exercise groups were significantly lower than those in the DCG group (P < 0.01); PKC levels decreased dramatically in the three exercise groups and DAG levels decrease slightly (P < 0.05), but with no significant difference. Compared with DCG, the serum level of NO was significantly higher (P < 0.05), and eNOS level was significantly elevated (P < 0.05). T-NOS elevation was statistically significant in DEG1 (P < 0.05).

Conclusions

Low- and moderate-intensity exercise can better control blood glucose level in diabetic rats; myocardial PAI-1 in DEG1, DEG2 and DEG3 rats decreased significantly (P < 0.05), serum NO increased (P < 0.05) and eNOS increased (P < 0.05) significantly. Therefore, it is inferred that exercise improves the biological mechanism of diabetic cardiomyopathy by affecting the levels of PAI-1 and eNOS, and there is a dependence on intensity.

Open access

Tsuneo Ogawa and Adolfo J de Bold

The concept of the heart as an endocrine organ arises from the observation that the atrial cardiomyocytes in the mammalian heart display a phenotype that is partly that of endocrine cells. Investigations carried out between 1971 and 1983 characterised, by virtue of its natriuretic properties, a polypeptide referred to atrial natriuretic factor (ANF). Another polypeptide isolated from brain in 1988, brain natriuretic peptide (BNP), was subsequently characterised as a second hormone produced by the mammalian heart atria. These peptides were associated with the maintenance of extracellular fluid volume and blood pressure. Later work demonstrated a plethora of other properties for ANF and BNP, now designated cardiac natriuretic peptides (cNPs). In addition to the cNPs, other polypeptide hormones are expressed in the heart that likely act upon the myocardium in a paracrine or autocrine fashion. These include the C-type natriuretic peptide, adrenomedullin, proadrenomedullin N-terminal peptide and endothelin-1. Expression and secretion of ANF and BNP are increased in various cardiovascular pathologies and their levels in blood are used in the diagnosis and prognosis of cardiovascular disease. In addition, therapeutic uses for these peptides or related substances have been found. In all, the discovery of the endocrine heart provided a shift from the classical functional paradigm of the heart that regarded this organ solely as a blood pump to one that regards this organ as self-regulating its workload humorally and that also influences the function of several other organs that control cardiovascular function.

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

Adriana J van Ballegooijen, Marjolein Visser, Marieke B Snijder, Jacqueline M Dekker, Giel Nijpels, Coen D A Stehouwer, Michaela Diamant and Ingeborg A Brouwer

Objective

A disturbed vitamin D–parathyroid hormone (PTH)–calcium axis may play a role in the pathogenesis of heart failure. Therefore, we investigated whether lower 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and higher PTH are cross sectionally and after 8 years of follow-up associated with higher B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) levels in older men and women.

Design and methods

We measured baseline 25(OH)D, PTH, and BNP in 502 subjects in 2000–2001 in the Hoorn Study, a population-based cohort. Follow-up BNP was available in 2007–2009 in 278 subjects. Subjects were categorized according to season- and sex-specific quartiles of 25(OH)D and PTH at baseline. We studied the association of 25(OH)D and PTH quartiles with BNP using linear regression analyses adjusting for confounders. Analyses were stratified by kidney function estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR; ≤60 ml/min per 1.73 m2) because of significant interaction.

Results

At baseline, subjects had a mean age of 69.9±6.6 years, mean 25(OH)D level was 52.2±19.5 nmol/l and mean PTH 6.1±2.4 pmol/l. Cross sectionally, 25(OH)D was associated with BNP in subjects with impaired kidney function (eGFR ≤60 ml/min) only. The association attenuated after adjustment for PTH. PTH was cross sectionally associated with BNP, also in subjects with impaired kidney function only: regression coefficient of highest quartile 9.9 pmol/l (95% confidence interval 2.5, 17.4) with a significant trend across quartiles. Neither 25(OH)D nor PTH was associated with BNP in longitudinal analyses.

Conclusion

This study showed overall no strong association between 25(OH)D and BNP. However, PTH was associated with BNP in subjects with impaired kidney function and may point to a potential role in myocardial function.

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.

Open access

Signe Frøssing, Malin Nylander, Caroline Kistorp, Sven O Skouby and Jens Faber

Context

Women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), and biomarkers can be used to detect early subclinical CVD. Midregional-pro-adrenomedullin (MR-proADM), midregional-pro-atrial natriuretic peptide (MR-proANP) and copeptin are all associated with CVD and part of the delicate system controlling fluid and hemodynamic homeostasis through vascular tonus and diuresis. The GLP-1 receptor agonist liraglutide, developed for treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D), improves cardiovascular outcomes in patients with T2D including a decrease in particular MR-proANP.

Objective

To investigate if treatment with liraglutide in women with PCOS reduces levels of the cardiovascular biomarkers MR-proADM, MR-proANP and copeptin.

Methods

Seventy-two overweight women with PCOS were treated with 1.8 mg/day liraglutide or placebo for 26 weeks in a placebo-controlled RCT. Biomarkers, anthropometrics, insulin resistance, body composition (DXA) and visceral fat (MRI) were examined.

Results

Baseline median (IQR) levels were as follows: MR-proADM 0.52 (0.45–0.56) nmol/L, MR-proANP 44.8 (34.6–56.7) pmol/L and copeptin 4.95 (3.50–6.50) pmol/L. Mean percentage differences (95% CI) between liraglutide and placebo group after treatment were as follows: MR-proADM −6% (−11 to 2, P = 0.058), MR-proANP −25% (−37 to −11, P = 0.001) and copeptin +4% (−13 to 25, P = 0.64). Reduction in MR-proANP concentration correlated with both increased heart rate and diastolic blood pressure in the liraglutide group. Multiple regression analyses with adjustment for BMI, free testosterone, insulin resistance, visceral fat, heart rate and eGFR showed reductions in MR-proANP to be independently correlated with an increase in the heart rate.

Conclusion

In an RCT, liraglutide treatment in women with PCOS reduced levels of the cardiovascular risk biomarkers MR-proANP with 25% and MR-proADM with 6% (borderline significance) compared with placebo. The decrease in MR-proANP was independently associated with an increase in the heart rate.

Open access

Akinori Sairaku, Yukiko Nakano, Yuko Uchimura, Takehito Tokuyama, Hiroshi Kawazoe, Yoshikazu Watanabe, Hiroya Matsumura and Yasuki Kihara

Background

The impact of subclinical hypothyroidism on the cardiovascular risk is still debated. We aimed to measure the relationship between subclinical hypothyroidism and the left atrial (LA) pressure.

Methods

The LA pressures and thyroid function were measured in consecutive patients undergoing atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation, who did not have any known heart failure, structural heart disease, or overt thyroid disease.

Results

Subclinical hypothyroidism (4.5≤ thyroid-stimulating hormone <19.9 mIU/L) was present in 61 (13.0%) of the 471 patients included. More subclinical hypothyroidism patients than euthyroid patients (55.7% vs 40.2%; P=0.04).’euthyroid patients had persistent or long-standing persistent AF (55.7% vs 40.2%; P = 0.04). The mean LA pressure (10.9 ± 4.7 vs 9.1 ± 4.3 mmHg; P = 0.002) and LA V-wave pressure (17.4 ± 6.5 vs 14.3 ± 5.9 mmHg; P < 0.001) were, respectively, higher in the patients with subclinical hypothyroidism than in the euthyroid patients. After an adjustment for potential confounders, the LA pressures remained significantly higher in the subclinical hypothyroidism patients. A multiple logistic regression model showed that subclinical hypothyroidism was independently associated with a mean LA pressure of >18 mmHg (odds ratio 3.94, 95% CI 1.28 11.2; P = 0.02).

Conclusions

Subclinical hypothyroidism may increase the LA pressure in AF patients.

Open access

Jens P Goetze, Linda M Hilsted, Jens F Rehfeld and Urban Alehagen

Cardiovascular risk assessment remains difficult in elderly patients. We examined whether chromogranin A (CgA) measurement in plasma may be valuable in assessing risk of death in elderly patients with symptoms of heart failure in a primary care setting. A total of 470 patients (mean age 73 years) were followed for 10 years. For CgA plasma measurement, we used a two-step method including a screening test and a confirmative test with plasma pre-treatment with trypsin. Cox multivariable proportional regression and receiver-operating curve (ROC) analyses were used to assess mortality risk. Assessment of cardiovascular mortality during the first 3 years of observation showed that CgA measurement contained useful information with a hazard ratio (HR) of 5.4 (95% CI 1.7–16.4) (CgA confirm). In a multivariate setting, the corresponding HR was 5.9 (95% CI 1.8–19.1). When adding N-terminal proBNP (NT-proBNP) to the model, CgA confirm still possessed prognostic information (HR: 6.1; 95% CI 1.8–20.7). The result for predicting all-cause mortality displayed the same pattern. ROC analyses in comparison to NT-proBNP to identify patients on top of clinical variables at risk of cardiovascular death within 5 years of follow-up showed significant additive value of CgA confirm measurements compared with NT-proBNP and clinical variables. CgA measurement in the plasma of elderly patients with symptoms of heart failure can identify those at increased risk of short- and long-term mortality.