Background: Heart failure (HF) is a complex clinical syndrome, resulting from structural and/or functional cardiac disease. The aim of this study was to determine whether the activity of Rho-kinase, which has been identified as an important therapeutic target of cardiovascular disease, is enhanced in HF patients. Methods and Results: Total and phosphorylated forms of myosin binding subunit (t-MBS and p-MBS), a substrate of Rho-kinase, were measured on western blotting in circulating leukocytes, and the p-MBS/t-MBS ratio was defined as an index of systemic Rho-kinase activity. First, during the time-course of acute HF (n=12), Rho-kinase activity was significantly elevated in the acute phase compared to the chronic phase (1.19±0.06 vs. 0.97±0.04, P<0.05). Next, Rho-kinase activity was examined in 30 controls and 130 chronic HF patients (cardiomyopathy, n=57; valvular heart disease, n=35; ischemic heart disease [IHD], n=33; and others, n=5). As compared with the controls, Rho-kinase activity was significantly elevated in the total HF group (1.14±0.02 vs. 0.77±0.05, P<0.0001) and in each underlying heart disease (P<0.05 each). Importantly, in the high-risk non-IHD group, Rho-kinase activity was significantly associated with plasma brain nutriuretic peptide level. Finally, p-MBS was expressed in myocardial biopsy samples (immunohis-tochemistry) in chronic HF patients (n=36), independent of Rho-kinase activity in leukocytes. Conclusions: Rho-kinase is activated in HF patients, suggesting that it could be a new therapeutic target of the disorder.
- Circulating leukocytes
- Heart failure
- Myocardial biopsy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine