Sex-specific responses to slow progressive pressure overload in a large animal model of HFpEF

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2022 Oct 1;323(4):H797-H817. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00374.2022. Epub 2022 Sep 2.


Approximately 50% of all heart failure (HF) diagnoses can be classified as HF with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). HFpEF is more prevalent in females compared with males, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. We previously showed that pressure overload (PO) in male felines induces a cardiopulmonary phenotype with essential features of human HFpEF. The goal of this study was to determine if slow progressive PO induces distinct cardiopulmonary phenotypes in females and males in the absence of other pathological stressors. Female and male felines underwent aortic constriction (banding) or sham surgery after baseline echocardiography, pulmonary function testing, and blood sampling. These assessments were repeated at 2 and 4 mo postsurgery to document the effects of slow progressive pressure overload. At 4 mo, invasive hemodynamic studies were also performed. Left ventricle (LV) tissue was collected for histology, myofibril mechanics, extracellular matrix (ECM) mass spectrometry, and single-nucleus RNA sequencing (snRNAseq). The induced pressure overload (PO) was not different between sexes. PO also induced comparable changes in LV wall thickness and myocyte cross-sectional area in both sexes. Both sexes had preserved ejection fraction, but males had a slightly more robust phenotype in hemodynamic and pulmonary parameters. There was no difference in LV fibrosis and ECM composition between banded male and female animals. LV snRNAseq revealed changes in gene programs of individual cell types unique to males and females after PO. Based on these results, both sexes develop cardiopulmonary dysfunction but the phenotype is somewhat less advanced in females.NEW & NOTEWORTHY We performed a comprehensive assessment to evaluate the effects of slow progressive pressure overload on cardiopulmonary function in a large animal model of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) in males and females. Functional and structural assessments were performed at the organ, tissue, cellular, protein, and transcriptional levels. This is the first study to compare snRNAseq and ECM mass spectrometry of HFpEF myocardium from males and females. The results broaden our understanding of the pathophysiological response of both sexes to pressure overload. Both sexes developed a robust cardiopulmonary phenotype, but the phenotype was equal or a bit less robust in females.

Keywords: heart failure with preserved ejection fraction; hemodynamics; hypertrophy; sex-based differences; single-nucleus RNA sequencing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Heart Failure*
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Stroke Volume / physiology
  • Ventricular Function, Left / physiology

Associated data

  • figshare/10.6084/m9.figshare.c.6163935.v1