Systemic iron deficiency does not affect the cardiac iron content and progression of heart failure

J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2021 Jun 15;159:16-27. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2021.06.005. Online ahead of print.


Chronic heart failure (HF) is often accompanied by systemic iron deficiency (ID). However, effects of ID on cardiac iron status and progression of HF are unknown. To investigate these effects rats underwent LAD ligation to induce post-myocardial infarction HF or sham operation. After 3 weeks the animals from both groups were randomized into three subgroups: control, moderate ID and severe ID+anemia (IDA) by a combination of phlebotomy and low iron diet for 5 weeks. Serum and hepatic iron content were reduced by 55% and 70% (ID) and by 80% and 77% (IDA), respectively, while cardiac iron content was unchanged in HF rats. Changes in expression of all cardiomyocyte iron handling proteins indicating preserved cardiomyocytes iron status in HF and ID/IDA. Contractile function of LV cardiomyocytes, Ca2+ transient amplitude, sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release and SERCA2a function was augmented by ID and IDA and it was accompanied by an increase in serum catecholamines. Neither ID nor IDA affected left ventricular (LV) systolic or diastolic function or dimensions. To sum up, systemic ID does not result in cardiac ID and does not affect progression of HF and even improves contractile function and Ca2+ handling of isolated LV cardiomyocytes, however, at the cost of increased catecholamine level. This suggests that intravenous iron therapy should be considered as an additional therapeutic option in HF, preventing the increase of catecholaminergic drive with its well-known long-term adverse effects.

Keywords: Anemia; Calcium signaling; Heart failure; Iron deficiency; Myocardial infarction.