Objectives: We sought to evaluate the relation of segmental tissue Doppler (TD) velocities to both the regional amount of interstitial fibrosis and the myocyte beta-adrenergic receptor density in humans.
Background: The systolic myocardial velocity (Sm) and early diastolic myocardial velocity (Em) acquired by TD are promising new indexes of left ventricular function. However, their structural and functional correlates in humans are still unknown.
Methods: Ten patients with coronary artery disease underwent echocardiographic examination including TD imaging, along with transmural endomyocardial biopsy at the time of coronary bypass surgery (two biopsies per patient for a total of 20 specimens). The specimens were analyzed for percent interstitial fibrosis and beta-adrenergic receptor density.
Results: Normal segments (n = 8) had a higher beta-adrenoceptor density (2,280 +/- 738 vs. 1,373 +/- 460, p = 0.03) and a lower amount of interstitial fibrosis (13 +/- 3.3% vs. 28 +/- 11.5%, p = 0.002) than dysfunctional segments (n = 12). Myocardial systolic velocity and Em were also significantly higher (9.5 +/- 2.7 vs. 5.9 +/- 1.8 cm/s, p = 0.025 and 11.3 +/- 2.8 vs. 6.4 +/- 2.1 cm/s, p = 0.002, respectively) in normal segments. A significant relationship was present between Em and the beta-adrenergic receptor density (r = 0.78, p < 0.001) and percent interstitial fibrosis (r = -0.7, p = 0.0026), which together accounted for 81% of the variance observed in Em. Likewise, a significant relationship was present between Sm and the beta-adrenergic receptor density (r = 0.68, p < 0.001) and the percent interstitial fibrosis (r = -0.66, p = 0.004) and together accounted for 62% of the variance observed in Sm.
Conclusions: Systolic myocardial velocity and Em are strongly dependent on both the number of myocytes and the myocardial beta-adrenergic receptor density.