Role of copper and homocysteine in pressure overload heart failure

Cardiovasc Toxicol. Fall 2008;8(3):137-44. doi: 10.1007/s12012-008-9021-3.


Elevated levels of homocysteine (Hcy) (known as hyperhomocysteinemia HHcy) are involved in dilated cardiomyopathy. Hcy chelates copper and impairs copper-dependent enzymes. Copper deficiency has been linked to cardiovascular disease. We tested the hypothesis that copper supplement regresses left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), fibrosis and endothelial dysfunction in pressure overload DCM mice hearts. The mice were grouped as sham, sham + Cu, aortic constriction (AC), and AC + Cu. Aortic constriction was performed by transverse aortic constriction. The mice were treated with or without 20 mg/kg copper supplement in the diet for 12 weeks. The cardiac function was assessed by echocardiography and electrocardiography. The matrix remodeling was assessed by measuring matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMPs), and lysyl oxidase (LOX) by Western blot analyses. The results suggest that in AC mice, cardiac function was improved with copper supplement. TIMP-1 levels decreased in AC and were normalized in AC + Cu. Although MMP-9, TIMP-3, and LOX activity increased in AC and returned to baseline value in AC + Cu, copper supplement showed no significant effect on TIMP-4 activity after pressure overload. In conclusion, our data suggest that copper supplement helps improve cardiac function in a pressure overload dilated cardiomyopathic heart.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta / surgery
  • Blood Pressure
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / drug therapy*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / metabolism
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / physiopathology
  • Constriction
  • Copper / administration & dosage*
  • Copper / metabolism
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiography
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Endothelium, Vascular / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects*
  • Homocysteine / blood
  • Homocysteine / metabolism*
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / drug therapy*
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / metabolism
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase / metabolism
  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases / metabolism
  • Ventricular Remodeling / drug effects


  • Tissue Inhibitor of Metalloproteinases
  • Homocysteine
  • Copper
  • Protein-Lysine 6-Oxidase
  • Matrix Metalloproteinases