Heat shock protein changes in hibernation: A similarity with heart failure?

Roberto Ferrari, M. Bongrazio, A. Cargnoni, L. Comini, E. Pasini, G. Gaia, O. Visioli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Myocardial hibernation is an adaptive phenomenon occurring during ischaemia. Patients with hibernating myocardium often have a history of an acute ischaemic insult, followed by prolonged hypoperfusion and symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF), which is a complex syndrome involving several adaptational mechanisms. We tested the hypothesis that these two conditions evoke the myocardial expression of heat shock protein 72 (hsp72) as an adaptive response at the molecular level. Short-term acute hibernation was induced in isolated and perfused rat hearts subjected to 8 min total ischaemia followed by 292 min low-flow ischaemia (coronary now: 1.0 ml/min), followed by 60 min of reperfusion. Total ischaemia caused quiescience. Subsequent low-now resulted in a temporal early increase of lactate release, no re-establishment of developed pressure, no increase in diastolic pressure. Reperfusion resulted in 85.7 ± 7.2% recovery of developed pressure, a small washout of lactate and CPK, no contracture, confirming that viability was maintained despite prolonged hypoperfusion. This sequence of events was linked to an increase in hsp72 content in the right (from 18.1 ± 3.8% to 34.6 ± 2.3%, P <0.01) and left (from 19.7 ± 2.6% to 37.6 ± 3.3%, P <0.01) ventricles. Three-hundred min of low-now perfusion of the rat heart in absence of the short period of total ischaemia caused irreversible damage and failed to induced hsp72. CHF was induced in rats by intraperitoneal administration of monocrotaline. As a result, right ventricular weight increased from 171.3 ± 7.2 to 412.3 ± 18.7 mg, P <0.001, peripheral and pleural effusion were evident and measurable, plasma arterial natriuretic peptide increased from 15.2 ± 1.9 to 123.5 ± 5.4 pg/ml, P <0.001, confirming the occurrence of the syndrome of CHF. This was concomitant with significant expression of hsp72, more evident in the right (from 5.0 ± 0.9% to 39.4 ± 1.6%, P <0.001) than in the left (from 3.5 ± 0.6% to 13.0 ± 1.2%, P <0.001) ventricle. These data suggest that an adaptational process occurs at myocardial level during either hibernation or CHF. The expression of hsp72 could be viewed as a stereotyped adaptational reaction of the cardiac cell to stress conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2383-2395
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1996


  • Congestive heart failure
  • Heat shock proteins
  • Hibernation
  • Myocardial ischaemia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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