Background: Idiopathic restrictive cardiomyopathy is a rare disease characterized by diastolic dysfunction, and the pathogenesis of the stiff heart remains unclear. The purpose of this study was to analyze the subpopulation of collagen fibers and determine the expression of matrix metalloproteinase in restrictive cardiomyopathy.
Methods and results: In endomyocardial biopsy specimens obtained from seven patients with restrictive cardiomyopathy, collagen fiber types I, III, and IV, and matrix metalloproteinase- and two were observed by light and electron microscopy, using monoclonal antibodies. Type I collagen was less prominent in the interstitium, whereas the immunoreactivity for type III collagen was marked. The immunoreactivity against matrix metalloproteinase-1 was observed along with types I and III collagen fibers and in the cytoplasm of some fibrocytes/fibroblasts. The matrix metalloproteinase-1 tended to increase when the reactivity against types I and III collagen was prominent. Both type IV collagen and matrix metalloproteinase-2 were observed along arterial walls and the basement membrane of cardiocytes.
Conclusions: Increased type III collagen may play an important role as the cause of left ventricular stiffness in restrictive cardiomyopathy. The matrix metalloproteinase appeared to be involved in a cascade of collagen synthesis and the remodeling of the heart in patients with restrictive cardiomyopathy.