Left Ventricular Failure Produces Profound Lung Remodeling and Pulmonary Hypertension in Mice
Heart Failure Causes Severe Lung Disease
Chronic left ventricular failure causes pulmonary congestion with increased lung weight and type 2 pulmonary hypertension. Understanding the molecular mechanisms for type 2 pulmonary hypertension and the development of novel treatments for this condition requires a robust experimental animal model and a good understanding of the nature of the resultant pulmonary remodeling. Here we demonstrate that chronic transverse aortic constriction causes massive pulmonary fibrosis and remodeling, as well as type 2 pulmonary hypertension, in mice. Thus, aortic constriction-induced left ventricular dysfunction and increased left ventricular end-diastolic pressure are associated with a ≤5.3-fold increase in lung wet weight and dry weight, pulmonary hypertension, and right ventricular hypertrophy. Interestingly, the aortic constriction-induced increase in lung weight was not associated with pulmonary edema but resulted from profound pulmonary remodeling with a dramatic increase in the percentage of fully muscularized lung vessels, marked vascular and lung fibrosis, myofibroblast proliferation, and leukocyte infiltration. The aortic constriction-induced left ventricular dysfunction was also associated with right ventricular hypertrophy, increased right ventricular end-diastolic pressure, and right atrial hypertrophy. The massive lung fibrosis, leukocyte infiltration, and pulmonary hypertension in mice after transverse aortic constriction clearly indicate that congestive heart failure also causes severe lung disease. The lung fibrosis and leukocyte infiltration may be important mechanisms in the poor clinical outcome in patients with end-stage heart failure. Thus, the effective treatment of left ventricular failure may require additional efforts to reduce lung fibrosis and the inflammatory response.
- Received October 12, 2011.
- Revision received November 13, 2011.
- Accepted March 22, 2012.
- © 2012 American Heart Association, Inc.