To determine whether additional hypertrophy would be beneficial or maladaptive in cardiac failure, the effects of insulin-like growth factor (IGF-1) were investigated in rats with left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. In normal rats, 3 mg/kg per d of recombinant human IGF-1 for 14 d augmented LV wt (32%) and increased LV/body wt ratio (P < 0.01). 2 d after coronary occlusion, rats were randomized to IGF-1 (3 mg/kg per d) or placebo. After 2 wk, IGF-1-treated rats showed significant increases in LV wt (13%) and LV wt/tibial length ratio, but LV/body wt ratio was unchanged. By microangiography, compared with controls (n = 12) IGF-1-treated rats (n = 16) showed increased LV end-diastolic volume (19%) and stroke volume (31%) (both significant normalized to tibial length, but not to body wt). Average infarct size did not differ between groups. The LV ejection fraction (EF) was not significantly different between groups, but estimated cardiac output was higher in treated rats; there was a significant interaction for the EF between infarct size and treatment (P = 0.029) and a trend for EF to be higher in treated rats with large infarctions (EF 33.4 vs 25.1% in controls). Myocyte cross-sectional areas in noninfarcted LV zones tended to be larger in treated rats (232.1 vs 205.4 microns 2; P = 0.10), but there was no difference in capillary density and collagen content did not differ between groups. In conclusion, IGF-1 administration caused hypertrophy of the normal heart in vivo. When stimulated by IGF-1, the severely dysfunctional heart in evolving myocardial infarction is capable of undergoing additional hypertrophy with evidence of improved function, suggesting a beneficial effect. Further investigation of the potential role of growth factor therapy in heart failure appears warranted.


R L Duerr, S Huang, H R Miraliakbar, R Clark, K R Chien, J Ross Jr


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