Molecular normalization of dystrophin in the failing left and right ventricle of patients treated with either pulsatile or continuous flow-type ventricular assist devices

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2004 Mar 3;43(5):811-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2003.09.052.


Objectives: We investigated the integrity of dystrophin in left ventricle (LV) and right ventricle (RV) of patients with end-stage heart failure due to ischemic cardiomyopathy (IHD) or dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and compared the efficacy of pulsatile or continuous flow assist devices on dystrophin reverse remodeling.

Background: Recently we demonstrated that the amino (N)-terminus of dystrophin is preferentially disrupted in failing LV myocardium irrespective the underlying etiology, and that this defect is reversed by mechanical unloading using left ventricular assist device (LVAD) therapy.

Methods: Myocardial samples were obtained from seven normal controls, seven failing hearts (either DCM or IHD), and 14 failing-heart patients who underwent placement of either pulsatile (7 patients) or continuous flow (7 patients) LVADs for progressive refractory HF. The expression and integrity of dystrophin in these samples were determined by immunohistochemistry using antibodies against the N-terminal and carboxyl (C)-terminal domains.

Results: Immunohistochemical staining identified disruption of the N-terminal dystrophin in both LVs and RVs of all seven failing-heart patients, whereas the C-terminus was normal. Furthermore, this disruption was reversed in 12 of the 14 patients after LVAD therapy using either pulsatile or continuous devices; the degree of the reverse remodeling was similar in both ventricles, although greater recovery was noted in patients treated with pulsatile flow devices.

Conclusions: Integrity of the N-terminus of dystrophin is a useful indicator of both LV and RV function. In addition to improving LV hemodynamics, LVAD therapy results in amelioration of the myocardial structure of the right cardiac chamber.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / complications
  • Dystrophin / analysis*
  • Dystrophin / genetics
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / etiology
  • Heart Failure / pathology
  • Heart Failure / surgery*
  • Heart Ventricles / chemistry
  • Heart-Assist Devices*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / complications
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Ventricular Remodeling


  • Dystrophin