Physiology: postprandial cardiac hypertrophy in pythons

Nature. 2005 Mar 3;434(7029):37-8. doi: 10.1038/434037a.

Abstract

Oxygen consumption by carnivorous reptiles increases enormously after they have eaten a large meal in order to meet metabolic demands, and this places an extra load on the cardiovascular system. Here we show that there is an extraordinarily rapid 40% increase in ventricular muscle mass in Burmese pythons (Python molurus) a mere 48 hours after feeding, which results from increased gene expression of muscle-contractile proteins. As this fully reversible hypertrophy occurs naturally, it could provide a useful model for investigating the mechanisms that lead to cardiac growth in other animals.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Body Weight
  • Boidae / genetics
  • Boidae / metabolism
  • Boidae / physiology*
  • Digestion / physiology*
  • Fasting / physiology
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Heart Ventricles / growth & development*
  • Morphogenesis
  • Myanmar
  • Organ Size
  • Oxygen Consumption
  • Postprandial Period / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / metabolism
  • Transcription, Genetic / genetics
  • Ventricular Myosins / biosynthesis
  • Ventricular Myosins / genetics
  • Ventricular Myosins / metabolism

Substances

  • RNA, Messenger
  • Ventricular Myosins