Myocyte cell loss and myocyte cellular hyperplasia in the hypertrophied aging rat heart.
To determine the effects of age on the myocardium, the functional and structural characteristics of the heart were studied in rats at 4, 12, 20, and 29 months of age. Mean arterial pressure, left ventricular pressure and its first derivative (dP/dt), and heart rate were comparable in rat groups up to 20 months. During the interval from 20 to 29 months, elevated left ventricular end-diastolic pressure and decreased dP/dt indicated that a significant impairment of ventricular function occurred with senescence. In the period between 4 and 12 months, a reduction of nearly 19% in the total number of myocytes was measured in both ventricles. In the subsequent ages, similar decreases in myocyte cell number were found in the left ventricle, whereas in the right ventricle, the initial loss was fully reversed by 20 months. Moreover, from 20 to 29 months, a 59% increase in the aggregate number of myocytes occurred in the right ventricular myocardium. In the left ventricle, a 3% increment was also seen, but this small change was not statistically significant. These estimations of myocyte cellular hyperplasia, however, were complicated by the fact that cell loss continued to take place with age. The volume fraction of collagen in the tissue, in fact, progressively increased from 8% and 7% at 4 months to 16% and 22% at 29 months in the left and right ventricles, respectively. In conclusion, myocyte cellular hyperplasia tends to regenerate the ventricular mass being lost with age in the adult mammalian rat heart.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association