Background Declining physical function is common among systolic heart failure (HF) patients and heralds poor clinical outcomes. We hypothesized that coordinated shifts in expression of ubiquitin-mediated atrophy-promoting genes are associated with muscle atrophy and contribute to decreased physical function. Methods Systolic HF patients (left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] â‰ 40%) underwent skeletal muscle biopsies (nondominant vastus lateralis) and comprehensive physical assessments. Skeletal muscle gene expression was assessed with the use of real-time polymerase chain reaction. Aerobic function was assessed with the use of cardiopulmonary exercise and 6-minute walk tests. Strength capacity was assessed with the use of pneumatic leg press (maximum strength and power). Serologic inflammatory markers also were assessed. Results 54 male patients (66.6 ;plusmn; 10.0 years) were studied: 24 systolic HF patients (mean LVEF 28.9 ;plusmn; 7.8%) and 30 age-matched control subjects. Aerobic and strength parameters were diminished in HF versus control. FoxO1 and FoxO3 were increased in HF versus control (7.9 ;plusmn; 6.2 vs 5.0 ;plusmn; 3.5, 6.5 ;plusmn; 4.3 vs 4.3 ;plusmn; 2.8 relative units, respectively; P â‰ ;.05 in both). However, atrogin-1 and MuRF-1 were similar in both groups. PGC-1α was also increased in HF (7.9 ± 5.4 vs. 5.3 ± 3.6 relative units; P <.05). Muscle levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF) 1 as well as serum levels of tumor necrosis factor α, C-reactive protein, interleukin (IL) 1β, and IL-6 were similar in HF and control. Conclusion Expression of the atrophy-promoting genes FoxO1 and FoxO3 were increased in skeletal muscle in systolic HF compared with control, but other atrophy gene expression patterns (atrogin-1 and MuRF-1), as well as growth promoting patterns (IGF-1), were similar. PGC-1α, a gene critical in enhancing mitochondrial function and moderating FoxO activity, may play an important counterregulatory role to offset ubiquitin pathway-mediated functional decrements.
- gene expression
- Heart failure
- skeletal muscle
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine