ARTICLE: Right Ventricular Sarcomere Contractile Depression and the Role of Thick Filament Activation in Human Heart Failure With Pulmonary Hypertension
AUTHORS: Vivek Jani, M Imran Aslam, Axel J Fenwick, Weikang Ma, Henry Gong, Gregory Milburn, Devin Nissen, Ilton M Cubero Salazar, Olivia Hanselman, Monica Mukherjee, Marc K Halushka, Kenneth B Margulies, Kenneth S Campbell, Thomas C Irving, David A Kass, Steven Hsu
JOURNAL: Circulation. 2023 Jun 20;147(25):1919-1932. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.123.064717. Epub 2023 May 17.
Background: Right ventricular (RV) contractile dysfunction commonly occurs and worsens outcomes in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and pulmonary hypertension (HFrEF-PH). However, such dysfunction often goes undetected by standard clinical RV indices, raising concerns that they may not reflect aspects of underlying myocyte dysfunction. We thus sought to characterize RV myocyte contractile depression in HFrEF-PH, identify those components reflected by clinical RV indices, and uncover underlying biophysical mechanisms.
Methods: Resting, calcium-, and load-dependent mechanics were prospectively studied in permeabilized RV cardiomyocytes isolated from explanted hearts from 23 patients with HFrEF-PH undergoing cardiac transplantation and 9 organ donor controls.
Results: Unsupervised machine learning using myocyte mechanical data with the highest variance yielded 2 HFrEF-PH subgroups that in turn mapped to patients with decompensated or compensated clinical RV function. This correspondence was driven by reduced calcium-activated isometric tension in decompensated clinical RV function, whereas surprisingly, many other major myocyte contractile measures including peak power and myocyte active stiffness were similarly depressed in both groups. Similar results were obtained when subgroups were first defined by clinical indices, and then myocyte mechanical properties in each group compared. To test the role of thick filament defects, myofibrillar structure was assessed by x-ray diffraction of muscle fibers. This revealed more myosin heads associated with the thick filament backbone in decompensated clinical RV function, but not compensated clinical RV function, as compared with controls. This corresponded to reduced myosin ATP turnover in decompensated clinical RV function myocytes, indicating less myosin in a crossbridge-ready disordered-relaxed (DRX) state. Altering DRX proportion (%DRX) affected peak calcium-activated tension in the patient groups differently, depending on their basal %DRX, highlighting potential roles for precision-guided therapeutics. Last, increasing myocyte preload (sarcomere length) increased %DRX 1.5-fold in controls but only 1.2-fold in both HFrEF-PH groups, revealing a novel mechanism for reduced myocyte active stiffness and by extension Frank-Starling reserve in human heart failure.
Conclusions: Although there are many RV myocyte contractile deficits in HFrEF-PH, commonly used clinical indices only detect reduced isometric calcium-stimulated force, which is related to deficits in basal and recruitable %DRX myosin. Our results support use of therapies to increase %DRX and enhance length-dependent recruitment of DRX myosin heads in such patients.
For the full article, click here.
For a link to the abstract, click here.