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Molecular Biology - Obstetrics


Distinct Cardiac Transcriptional Profiles Defining Pregnancy and Exercise
Published: Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Author: Eunhee Chung et al.

by Eunhee Chung, Joseph Heimiller, Leslie A. Leinwand

Background

Although the hypertrophic responses of the heart to pregnancy and exercise are both considered to be physiological processes, they occur in quite different hormonal and temporal settings. In this study, we have compared the global transcriptional profiles of left ventricular tissues at various time points during the progression of hypertrophy in exercise and pregnancy.

Methodology/Principal Findings

The following groups of female mice were analyzed: non-pregnant diestrus cycle sedentary control, mid-pregnant, late-pregnant, and immediate-postpartum, and animals subjected to 7 and 21 days of voluntary wheel running. Hierarchical clustering analysis shows that while mid-pregnancy and both exercise groups share the closest relationship and similar gene ontology categories, late pregnancy and immediate post-partum are quite different with high representation of secreted/extracellular matrix-related genes. Moreover, pathway-oriented ontological analysis shows that metabolism regulated by cytochrome P450 and chemokine pathways are the most significant signaling pathways regulated in late pregnancy and immediate-postpartum, respectively. Finally, increases in expression of components of the proteasome observed in both mid-pregnancy and immediate-postpartum also result in enhanced proteasome activity. Interestingly, the gene expression profiles did not correlate with the degree of cardiac hypertrophy observed in the animal groups, suggesting that distinct pathways are employed to achieve similar amounts of cardiac hypertrophy.

Conclusions/Significance

Our results demonstrate that cardiac adaptation to the later stages of pregnancy is quite distinct from both mid-pregnancy and exercise. Furthermore, it is very dynamic since, by 12 hours post-partum, the heart has already initiated regression of cardiac growth, and 50 genes have changed expression significantly in the immediate-postpartum compared to late-pregnancy. Thus, pregnancy-induced cardiac hypertrophy is a more complex process than exercise-induced cardiac hypertrophy and our data suggest that the mechanisms underlying the two types of hypertrophy have limited overlap.

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