Current perspectives on cardiac amyloidosis

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Feb 1;302(3):H544-52. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00815.2011. Epub 2011 Nov 4.


Amyloidosis represents a group of diseases in which proteins undergo misfolding to form insoluble fibrils with subsequent tissue deposition. While almost all deposited amyloid fibers share a common nonbranched morphology, the affected end organs, clinical presentation, treatment strategies, and prognosis vary greatly among this group of diseases and are largely dependent on the specific amyloid precursor protein. To date, at least 27 precursor proteins have been identified to result in either local tissue or systemic amyloidosis, with nine of them manifesting in cardiac deposition and resulting in a syndrome termed "cardiac amyloidosis" or "amyloid cardiomyopathy." Although cardiac amyloidosis has been traditionally considered to be a rare disorder, as clinical appreciation and understanding continues to grow, so too has the prevalence, suggesting that this disease may be greatly underdiagnosed. The most common form of cardiac amyloidosis is associated with circulating amyloidogenic monoclonal immunoglobulin light chain proteins. Other major cardiac amyloidoses result from a misfolding of products of mutated or wild-type transthyretin protein. While the various cardiac amyloidoses share a common functional consequence, namely, an infiltrative cardiomyopathy with restrictive pathophysiology leading to progressive heart failure, the underlying pathophysiology and clinical syndrome varies with each precursor protein. Herein, we aim to provide an up-to-date overview of cardiac amyloidosis from nomenclature to molecular mechanisms and treatment options, with a particular focus on amyloidogenic immunoglobulin light chain protein cardiac amyloidosis.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amyloidosis / pathology*
  • Amyloidosis / physiopathology*
  • Amyloidosis / therapy
  • Heart Diseases / pathology*
  • Heart Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Heart Diseases / therapy
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / pathology*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / physiology