Quantitative analysis of apoptotic markers in human end-stage heart failure

Eur J Heart Fail. 2008 Feb;10(2):129-32. doi: 10.1016/j.ejheart.2007.12.013.


Apoptosis--programmed cell death--has been implicated in a variety of cardiac diseases, including myocardial infarction and chronic heart failure. This study was conducted to quantify the amount of apoptotic markers in human end-stage heart failure and to correlate the results to clinical parameters of heart failure. Myocardial samples from 44 patients with end-stage heart failure and 5 controls were collected at the time of heart transplantation. Lysates of tissue samples were analysed for cleavage of alpha actin, alpha actinin, troponin T, tropomyosin, essential myosin light chain-1 (MLC-1v), and gelsolin. We observed cleavage of alpha actin, and alpha actinin. Troponin I, tropomyosin, and MLC-1v were not detectably cleaved. The amount of active caspase-3 was low in all samples (1.10+/-0.1 ng/ml). The same applied for DNA histone fragments (0.61+/-0.04). In patients with acutely decompensated heart failure we observed a striking increase in caspase-3 activity, but not DNA fragmentation. When calculated for the entire group there was no correlation between caspase-3 activity, DNA fragmentation and haemodynamic or echocardiographic variables. Relevant increases in apoptosis were only observed in patients with acute decompensated heart failure.

MeSH terms

  • Actinin / metabolism
  • Actins / metabolism
  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Apoptosis / physiology*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / enzymology
  • Caspase 3 / metabolism*
  • Chronic Disease
  • DNA Cleavage
  • DNA Fragmentation
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Male
  • Membrane Proteins / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Tropomyosin / metabolism
  • Troponin I / metabolism


  • Actins
  • MLC1 protein, human
  • Membrane Proteins
  • Tropomyosin
  • Troponin I
  • Actinin
  • Caspase 3