Cellular basis of chronic ventricular remodeling after myocardial infarction in rats.
To determine whether the hypertrophic response of the surviving myocardium after infarction leads to normalization of ventricular hemodynamics and wall stress, the left coronary artery was ligated in rats. One month later, the rats were killed. In infarcts affecting an average 38% of the free wall of the left ventricle (small infarcts), reactive hypertrophy in the spared myocardium bordering and remote from the scar was documented by increases in myocyte cell volume per nucleus of 43% and 25%, respectively. These cellular enlargements resulted in a complete reconstitution of functioning tissue. However, left ventricular end-diastolic pressure was increased, left ventricular dP/dt was decreased, and diastolic wall stress was increased 2.4-fold. After infarctions resulting in a 60% loss of mass (large infarcts), myocyte hypertrophy was 81% and 32% in the regions adjacent to and distant from the scar, respectively. A 10% deficit was present in the recovery of viable myocardium. Functionally, ventricular performance was markedly depressed, and diastolic wall stress was increased ninefold. The alterations in loading of the spared myocardium were due to an increase in chamber volume and a decrease in the myocardial mass/chamber volume ratio that affected both infarct groups. Chamber dilation was the consequence of the combination of gross anatomic and cellular changes consisting, in the presence of small infarcts, of a 6% and a 19% increase in transverse midchamber diameter and in average myocyte length per nucleus, respectively. In the presence of large infarcts, transverse and longitudinal chamber diameters expanded by 27% and 11%, respectively, myocyte length per nucleus expanded by 26%, and the mural number of myocytes decreased by 10%. In conclusion, decompensated eccentric ventricular hypertrophy develops chronically after infarction, and growth processes in myocytes are inadequate for normalization of wall stress when myocyte loss involves nearly 40% or more of the cells of the left ventricular free wall. The persistance of elevated myocardial and cellular loads may sustain the progression of the disease state toward end-stage congestive heart failure.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association