Although sex differences in heart failure (HF) prevalence and severity have been recognized, its molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. We used a tachycardia-induced cardiomyopathy model to determine the sex specific remodeling pattern in male and female adult pigs.
We compared the echocardiographic and molecular measures of myocardial remodeling in 19 male and 12 female pigs with chronic symptomatic systolic HF due to right ventricle (RV) pacing (170 bpm) and 6 male and 5 female sham-operated controls. Males achieved subsequent HF stages earlier than females.
The progression of symptomatic HF was associated with the reduction of the left ventricle (LV) ejection fraction in both sexes (all p < 0.05). A significant LV dilatation occurred only in males (p < 0.001). The HF development was accompanied by an increased pro-hypertrophic factor GATA4 and TGF-β1 messenger RNA (mRNA) expression in the LV only in male pigs (all p < 0.01). The total gelatinolytic activity in LV was higher in males than females (irrespective of HF, p < 0.05), and the HF progression was associated with a reduced total gelatinolytic activity (p < 0.05) in the LV only in males. No differences in LV myocardial collagen content were found between HF groups and sexes. Cardiomyocyte cross-sectional diameter was significantly smaller in male hearts as compared to female (p < 0.05).
Male and female porcine hearts respond differently to RV pacing. Males, most likely due to a higher extracellular matrix turnover, demonstrated a significant LV dilatation, followed by a strong induction of pro-hypertrophic program, and an earlier development of symptomatic HF.
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