Journal: Circulation

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Abstract

Sequential Defects in Cardiac Lineage Commitment and Maturation Cause Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome.

Krane M, Dreßen M, Santamaria G, My I, ... Laugwitz KL, Moretti A
Background
Complex molecular programs in specific cell lineages govern human heart development. Hypoplastic left heart syndrome (HLHS) is the most common and severe manifestation within the spectrum of left ventricular outflow tract obstruction defects occurring in association with ventricular hypoplasia. The pathogenesis of HLHS is unknown, but hemodynamic disturbances are assumed to play a prominent role.
Methods
To identify perturbations in gene programs controlling ventricular muscle lineage development in HLHS, we performed whole-exome sequencing of 87 HLHS parent-offspring trios, nuclear transcriptomics of cardiomyocytes from ventricles of 4 patients with HLHS and 15 controls at different stages of heart development, single cell RNA sequencing, and 3D modeling in induced pluripotent stem cells from 3 patients with HLHS and 3 controls.
Results
Gene set enrichment and protein network analyses of damaging de novo mutations and dysregulated genes from ventricles of patients with HLHS suggested alterations in specific gene programs and cellular processes critical during fetal ventricular cardiogenesis, including cell cycle and cardiomyocyte maturation. Single-cell and 3D modeling with induced pluripotent stem cells demonstrated intrinsic defects in the cell cycle/unfolded protein response/autophagy hub resulting in disrupted differentiation of early cardiac progenitor lineages leading to defective cardiomyocyte subtype differentiation/maturation in HLHS. Premature cell cycle exit of ventricular cardiomyocytes from patients with HLHS prevented normal tissue responses to developmental signals for growth, leading to multinucleation/polyploidy, accumulation of DNA damage, and exacerbated apoptosis, all potential drivers of left ventricular hypoplasia in absence of hemodynamic cues.
Conclusions
Our results highlight that despite genetic heterogeneity in HLHS, many mutations converge on sequential cellular processes primarily driving cardiac myogenesis, suggesting novel therapeutic approaches.



Circulation: 25 Oct 2021; 144:1409-1428
Krane M, Dreßen M, Santamaria G, My I, ... Laugwitz KL, Moretti A
Circulation: 25 Oct 2021; 144:1409-1428 | PMID: 34694888
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Abstract

Breath of Life: Heart Disease Link to Developmental Hypoxia.

Giussani DA
Heart disease remains one of the greatest killers. In addition to genetics and traditional lifestyle risk factors, we now understand that adverse conditions during pregnancy can also increase susceptibility to cardiovascular disease in the offspring. Therefore, the mechanisms by which this occurs and possible preventative therapies are of significant contemporary interest to the cardiovascular community. A common suboptimal pregnancy condition is a sustained reduction in fetal oxygenation. Chronic fetal hypoxia results from any pregnancy with increased placental vascular resistance, such as in preeclampsia, placental infection, or maternal obesity. Chronic fetal hypoxia may also arise during pregnancy at high altitude or because of maternal respiratory disease. This article reviews the short- and long-term effects of hypoxia on the fetal cardiovascular system, and the importance of chronic fetal hypoxia in triggering a developmental origin of future heart disease in the adult progeny. The work summarizes evidence derived from human studies as well as from rodent, avian, and ovine models. There is a focus on the discovery of the molecular link between prenatal hypoxia, oxidative stress, and increased cardiovascular risk in adult offspring. Discussion of mitochondria-targeted antioxidant therapy offers potential targets for clinical intervention in human pregnancy complicated by chronic fetal hypoxia.



Circulation: 25 Oct 2021; 144:1429-1443
Giussani DA
Circulation: 25 Oct 2021; 144:1429-1443 | PMID: 34694887
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Abstract

Therapeutic Exon Skipping a CRISPR-guided Cytidine Deaminase Rescues Dystrophic Cardiomyopathy .

Li J, Wang K, Zhang Y, Qi T, ... Song Y, Chang X
Background: Loss of dystrophin protein causes Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), characterized by progressive degeneration of cardiac and skeletal muscles, and mortality in adolescence or young adult. Although cardiac failure has risen as the leading cause of mortality in patients with DMD, effective therapeutic interventions remain underdeveloped, in part, due to the lack of a suitable preclinical model.
Methods:
We analyzed a novel murine model of DMD created by introducing a 4-bp deletion into exon 4, one of the exons encoding the actin-binding domain 1 of dystrophin (referred to as DmdE4* mice). Echocardiography, micro-CT, muscle force measurement, and histological analysis were performed to determine cardiac and skeletal muscle defects in these mice. Using this model, we examined the feasibility of using a cytidine base editor to install exon skipping and rescue dystrophic cardiomyopathy in vivo. AAV9-based CRISPR/Cas9-AID (eTAM) together with AAV9-sgRNA was injected into neonatal DmdE4* mice, which were analyzed 2- or 12-month post treatment to evaluate the extents of exon skipping, dystrophin restoration, and phenotypic improvements of cardiac and skeletal muscles.
Results:
DmdE4* mice recapitulated many aspects of human DMD, including shortened lifespan (by ∼50%), progressive cardiomyopathy, kyphosis, profound loss of muscle strength, and myocyte degeneration. A single-dose administration of AAV9-eTAM instituted over 50% targeted exon skipping in the Dmd transcripts and restored up to 90% dystrophin in the heart. As a result, early ventricular remodeling was prevented and cardiac and skeletal muscle functions were improved, leading to an increased lifespan of the DmdE4* mice. Despite gradual decline of AAV vector and base editor expression, dystrophin restoration and pathophysiological rescue of muscular dystrophy were long lasted for at least one year. Conclusions: Our study demonstrates the feasibility and efficacy to institute exon skipping via an enhanced TAM (eTAM) for therapeutic application(s).




Circulation: 25 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Li J, Wang K, Zhang Y, Qi T, ... Song Y, Chang X
Circulation: 25 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34698513
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Abstract

Cardiovascular Progerin Suppression and lamin A Restoration Rescues Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome.

Sánchez-López A, Espinós-Estévez C, González-Gómez C, Gonzalo P, ... Benedicto I, Andrés V
Background: Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is a rare disorder characterized by premature aging and death mainly due to myocardial infarction, stroke, or heart failure. The disease is provoked by progerin, a variant of lamin A expressed in most differentiated cells. Patients look healthy at birth, and symptoms typically emerge in the first or second year of life. Assessing the reversibility of progerin-induced damage and the relative contribution of specific cell types is critical to determining the potential benefits of late treatment and to developing new therapies.
Methods:
We used CRISPR/Cas9 technology to generate LmnaHGPSrev/HGPSrev (HGPSrev) mice engineered to ubiquitously express progerin while lacking lamin A and allowing progerin suppression and lamin A restoration in a time- and cell-type-specific manner upon Cre recombinase activation. We characterized the phenotype of HGPSrev mice and crossed them with Cre transgenic lines to assess the effects of suppressing progerin and restoring lamin A ubiquitously at different disease stages as well as specifically in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and cardiomyocytes.
Results:
Like HGPS patients, HGPSrev mice appear healthy at birth and progressively develop HGPS symptoms, including failure to thrive, lipodystrophy, VSMC loss, vascular fibrosis, electrocardiographic anomalies, and precocious death (median lifespan of 15 months versus 26 months in wild-type controls, p<0.0001). Ubiquitous progerin suppression and lamin A restoration significantly extended lifespan when induced in 6-month-old mildly symptomatic mice and even in severely ill animals aged 13 months, although the benefit was much more pronounced upon early intervention (84.5% lifespan extension in mildly symptomatic mice, p<0.0001, and 6.7% in severely ill mice, p<0.01). Remarkably, major vascular alterations were prevented and lifespan normalized in HGPSrev mice when progerin suppression and lamin A restoration were restricted to VSMCs and cardiomyocytes. Conclusions: HGPSrev mice constitute a new experimental model for advancing knowledge of HGPS. Our findings suggest that it is never too late to treat HGPS, although benefit is much more pronounced when progerin is targeted in mice with mild symptoms. Despite the broad expression pattern of progerin and its deleterious effects in many organs, restricting its suppression to VSMCs and cardiomyocytes is sufficient to prevent vascular disease and normalize lifespan.




Circulation: 24 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Sánchez-López A, Espinós-Estévez C, González-Gómez C, Gonzalo P, ... Benedicto I, Andrés V
Circulation: 24 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34694158
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Abstract

CARMN is an Evolutionarily Conserved Smooth Muscle Cell-specific LncRNA that Maintains Contractile Phenotype by Binding Myocardin.

Dong K, Shen J, He X, Hu G, ... Fulton DJR, Zhou J
Background: Vascular homeostasis is maintained by the differentiated phenotype of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). The landscape of protein coding genes comprising the transcriptome of differentiated VSMCs has been intensively investigated but many gaps remain including the emerging roles of non-coding genes.
Methods:
We re-analyzed large-scale, publicly available bulk and scRNA-seq datasets from multiple tissues and cell types to identify VSMC-enriched lncRNAs. The in vivo expression pattern of a novel SMC expressed lncRNA, Carmn (CARdiac Mesoderm Enhancer-associated Non-coding RNA) was investigated using a novel Carmn GFP knock-in reporter mouse model. Bioinformatics and qRT-PCR analysis were employed to assess CARMN expression changes during VSMC phenotypic modulation in human and murine vascular disease models. In vitro, functional assays were performed by knocking down CARMN with antisense oligonucleotides and over-expressing Carmn by adenovirus in human coronary artery SMCs. Carotid artery injury was performed in SMC-specific Carmn knockout mice to assess neointima formation and the therapeutic potential of reversing CARMN loss was tested in a rat carotid artery balloon injury model. The molecular mechanisms underlying CARMN function were investigated using RNA pull-down, RNA immunoprecipitation and luciferase reporter assays.
Results:
We identified CARMN, which was initially annotated as the host gene of the MIR143/145 cluster and recently reported to play a role in cardiac differentiation, as a highly abundant and conserved, SMC-specific lncRNA. Analysis of the Carmn GFP knock-in mouse model confirmed that Carmn is transiently expressed in embryonic cardiomyocytes and thereafter becomes restricted to SMCs. We also found that Carmn is transcribed independently of Mir143/145. CARMN expression is dramatically decreased by vascular disease in humans and murine models and regulates the contractile phenotype of VSMCs in vitro. In vivo, SMC-specific deletion of Carmn significantly exacerbated, while overexpression of Carmn markedly attenuated, injury-induced neointima formation in mouse and rat, respectively. Mechanistically, we found that Carmn physically binds to the key transcriptional cofactor myocardin, facilitating its activity and thereby maintaining the contractile phenotype of VSMCs Conclusions: CARMN is an evolutionarily conserved SMC-specific lncRNA with a previously unappreciated role in maintaining the contractile phenotype of VSMCs and is the first non-coding RNA discovered to interact with myocardin.




Circulation: 24 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Dong K, Shen J, He X, Hu G, ... Fulton DJR, Zhou J
Circulation: 24 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34694145
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Abstract

Strategies for Promotion of a Healthy Lifestyle in Clinical Settings: Pillars of Ideal Cardiovascular Health: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association.

Kris-Etherton PM, Petersen KS, Després JP, Anderson CAM, ... American Heart Association Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Stroke Council; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; and Council on Hypertension
Engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors is suboptimal. The vast majority of the US population does not meet current recommendations. A healthy lifestyle is defined by consuming a healthy dietary pattern, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding exposure to tobacco products, habitually attaining adequate amounts of sleep, and managing stress levels. For all these health behaviors there are well-established guidelines; however, promotion in clinical settings can be challenging. It is critical to overcome these challenges because greater promotion of heathy lifestyle practices in clinical settings effectively motivates and initiates patient behavior change. The 5A Model (assess, advise, agree, assist, and arrange) was developed to provide a framework for clinical counseling with requisite attention to the demands of clinical settings. In this science advisory, we present strategies, based on the 5A Model, that clinicians and other health care professionals can use for efficient lifestyle-related behavior change counseling in patients at all levels of cardiovascular disease risk at every visit. In addition, we discuss the underlying role of psychological health and well-being in lifestyle-related behavior change counseling, and how clinicians can leverage health technologies when providing brief patient-centered counseling. Greater attention to healthy lifestyle behaviors during routine clinician visits will contribute to promoting cardiovascular health.



Circulation: 24 Oct 2021:CIR0000000000001018; epub ahead of print
Kris-Etherton PM, Petersen KS, Després JP, Anderson CAM, ... American Heart Association Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Stroke Council; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; and Council on Hypertension
Circulation: 24 Oct 2021:CIR0000000000001018; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34689589
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Abstract

Special Considerations for Healthy Lifestyle Promotion Across the Life Span in Clinical Settings: A Science Advisory From the American Heart Association.

Kris-Etherton PM, Petersen KS, Després JP, Braun L, ... American Heart Association Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Stroke Council; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; and Council on Hypertension
At a population level, engagement in healthy lifestyle behaviors is suboptimal in the United States. Moreover, marked disparities exist in healthy lifestyle behaviors and cardiovascular risk factors as a result of social determinants of health. In addition, there are specific challenges to engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors related to age, developmental stage, or major life circumstances. Key components of a healthy lifestyle are consuming a healthy dietary pattern, engaging in regular physical activity, avoiding use of tobacco products, habitually attaining adequate sleep, and managing stress. For these health behaviors, there are guidelines and recommendations; however, promotion in clinical settings can be challenging, particularly in certain population groups. These challenges must be overcome to facilitate greater promotion of healthy lifestyle practices in clinical settings. The 5A Model (assess, advise, agree, assist, and arrange) was developed to provide a framework for clinical counseling with consideration for the demands of clinical settings. In this science advisory, we summarize specific considerations for lifestyle-related behavior change counseling using the 5A Model for patients across the life span. In all life stages, social determinants of health and unmet social-related health needs, as well as overweight and obesity, are associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease, and there is the potential to modify this risk with lifestyle-related behavior changes. In addition, specific considerations for lifestyle-related behavior change counseling in life stages in which lifestyle behaviors significantly affect cardiovascular disease risk are outlined. Greater attention to healthy lifestyle behaviors during every clinician visit will contribute to improved cardiovascular health.



Circulation: 24 Oct 2021:CIR0000000000001014; epub ahead of print
Kris-Etherton PM, Petersen KS, Després JP, Braun L, ... American Heart Association Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Stroke Council; Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; and Council on Hypertension
Circulation: 24 Oct 2021:CIR0000000000001014; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34689570
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Abstract

Altered Cardiac Energetics and Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

Ranjbarvaziri S, Kooiker KB, Ellenberger M, Fajardo G, ... Contrepois K, Bernstein D
Background: Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a complex disease partly explained by the effects of individual gene variants on sarcomeric protein biomechanics. At the cellular level, HCM mutations most commonly enhance force production, leading to higher energy demands. Despite significant advances in elucidating sarcomeric structure-function relationships, there is still much to be learned about the mechanisms that link altered cardiac energetics to HCM phenotypes. In this work, we test the hypothesis that changes in cardiac energetics represent a common pathophysiologic pathway in HCM.
Methods:
We performed a comprehensive multi-omics profile of the molecular (transcripts, metabolites, and complex lipids), ultrastructural, and functional components of HCM energetics using myocardial samples from 27 HCM patients and 13 normal controls (donor hearts).
Results:
Integrated omics analysis revealed alterations in a wide array of biochemical pathways with major dysregulation in fatty acid metabolism, reduction of acylcarnitines, and accumulation of free fatty acids. HCM hearts showed evidence of global energetic decompensation manifested by a decrease in high energy phosphate metabolites [ATP, ADP, and phosphocreatine (PCr)] and a reduction in mitochondrial genes involved in creatine kinase and ATP synthesis. Accompanying these metabolic derangements, electron microscopy showed an increased fraction of severely damaged mitochondria with reduced cristae density, coinciding with reduced citrate synthase (CS) activity and mitochondrial oxidative respiration. These mitochondrial abnormalities were associated with elevated reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reduced antioxidant defenses. However, despite significant mitochondrial injury, HCM hearts failed to upregulate mitophagic clearance. Conclusions: Overall, our findings suggest that perturbed metabolic signaling and mitochondrial dysfunction are common pathogenic mechanisms in patients with HCM. These results highlight potential new drug targets for attenuation of the clinical disease through improving metabolic function and reducing mitochondrial injury.




Circulation: 20 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Ranjbarvaziri S, Kooiker KB, Ellenberger M, Fajardo G, ... Contrepois K, Bernstein D
Circulation: 20 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34672721
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Abstract

Mitochondrial Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase Protects from Myocardial Ischemia/reperfusion Injury by Improving Complex I Composition and Function.

Ale-Agha N, Jakobs P, Goy C, Zurek M, ... Altschmied J, Haendeler J
Background: The catalytic subunit of telomerase, Telomerase Reverse Transcriptase (TERT) has protective functions in the cardiovascular system. TERT is not only present in the nucleus, but also in mitochondria. However, it is unclear whether nuclear or mitochondrial TERT is responsible for the observed protection and appropriate tools are missing to dissect this.
Methods:
We generated new mouse models containing TERT exclusively in the mitochondria (mitoTERT mice) or the nucleus (nucTERT mice) to finally distinguish between the functions of nuclear and mitochondrial TERT. Outcome after ischemia/reperfusion, mitochondrial respiration in the heart as well as cellular functions of cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts, and endothelial cells were determined.
Results:
All mice were phenotypically normal. While respiration was reduced in cardiac mitochondria from TERT-deficient and nucTERT mice, it was increased in mitoTERT animals. The latter also had smaller infarcts than wildtype mice, whereas nucTERT animals had larger infarcts. The decrease in ejection fraction after one, two and four weeks of reperfusion was attenuated in mitoTERT mice. Scar size was also reduced and vascularization increased. Mitochondrial TERT protected a cardiomyocyte cell line from apoptosis. Myofibroblast differentiation, which depends on complex I activity, was abrogated in TERT-deficient and nucTERT cardiac fibroblasts and completely restored in mitoTERT cells. In endothelial cells, mitochondrial TERT enhanced migratory capacity and activation of endothelial NO synthase. Mechanistically, mitochondrial TERT improved the ratio between complex I matrix arm and membrane subunits explaining the enhanced complex I activity. In human right atrial appendages, TERT was localized in mitochondria and there increased by remote ischemic preconditioning. The Telomerase activator, TA-65 evoked a similar effect in endothelial cells, thereby increasing their migratory capacity, and enhanced myofibroblast differentiation. Conclusions: Mitochondrial, but not nuclear TERT, is critical for mitochondrial respiration and during ischemia/reperfusion injury. Mitochondrial TERT improves complex I subunit composition. TERT is present in human heart mitochondria, and remote ischemic preconditioning increases its level in those organelles. TA-65 has comparable effects ex vivo and improves migratory capacity of endothelial cells and myofibroblast differentiation. We conclude that mitochondrial TERT is responsible for cardioprotection and its increase could serve as a therapeutic strategy.




Circulation: 20 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Ale-Agha N, Jakobs P, Goy C, Zurek M, ... Altschmied J, Haendeler J
Circulation: 20 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34672678
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Abstract

Cardiovascular Safety of Degarelix Versus Leuprolide in Patients With Prostate Cancer: The Primary Results of the PRONOUNCE Randomized Trial.

Lopes RD, Higano CS, Slovin SF, Nelson AJ, ... Alexander JH, PRONOUNCE Study Investigators
Background
The relative cardiovascular safety of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonists compared with GnRH agonists in men with prostate cancer and known atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease remains controversial.
Methods
In this international, multicenter, prospective, randomized, open-label trial, men with prostate cancer and concomitant atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease were randomly assigned 1:1 to receive the GnRH antagonist degarelix or the GnRH agonist leuprolide for 12 months. The primary outcome was the time to first adjudicated major adverse cardiovascular event (composite of death, myocardial infarction, or stroke) through 12 months.
Results
Because of slower-than-projected enrollment and fewer-than-projected primary outcome events, enrollment was stopped before the 900 planned participants were accrued. From May 3, 2016, to April 16, 2020, a total of 545 patients from 113 sites across 12 countries were randomly selected. Baseline characteristics were balanced between study groups. The median age was 73 years, 49.8% had localized prostate cancer; 26.3% had locally advanced disease, and 20.4% had metastatic disease. A major adverse cardiovascular event occurred in 15 (5.5%) patients assigned to degarelix and 11 (4.1%) patients assigned to leuprolide (hazard ratio, 1.28 [95% CI, 0.59-2.79]; P=0.53).
Conclusions
PRONOUNCE (A Trial Comparing Cardiovascular Safety of Degarelix Versus Leuprolide in Patients With Advanced Prostate Cancer and Cardiovascular Disease) is the first, international, randomized clinical trial to prospectively compare the cardiovascular safety of a GnRH antagonist and a GnRH agonist in patients with prostate cancer. The study was terminated prematurely because of the smaller than planned number of participants and events, and no difference in major adverse cardiovascular events at 1 year between patients assigned to degarelix or leuprolide was observed. The relative cardiovascular safety of GnRH antagonists and agonists remains unresolved. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02663908.



Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1295-1307
Lopes RD, Higano CS, Slovin SF, Nelson AJ, ... Alexander JH, PRONOUNCE Study Investigators
Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1295-1307 | PMID: 34459214
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Abstract

Effect of Empagliflozin on Worsening Heart Failure Events in Patients With Heart Failure and Preserved Ejection Fraction: EMPEROR-Preserved Trial.

Packer M, Butler J, Zannad F, Filippatos G, ... Schnee JM, Anker SD
Background
Empagliflozin reduces the risk of cardiovascular death or hospitalization for heart failure in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, but additional data are needed about its effect on inpatient and outpatient heart failure events.
Methods
We randomly assigned 5988 patients with class II through IV heart failure with an ejection fraction of >40% to double-blind treatment with placebo or empagliflozin (10 mg once daily), in addition to usual therapy, for a median of 26 months. We prospectively collected information on inpatient and outpatient events reflecting worsening heart failure and prespecified their analysis in individual and composite end points.
Results
Empagliflozin reduced the combined risk of cardiovascular death, hospitalization for heart failure, or an emergency or urgent heart failure visit requiring intravenous treatment (432 versus 546 patients [empagliflozin versus placebo, respectively]; hazard ratio, 0.77 [95% CI, 0.67-0.87]; P<0.0001). This benefit reached statistical significance at 18 days after randomization. Empagliflozin reduced the total number of heart failure hospitalizations that required intensive care (hazard ratio, 0.71 [95% CI, 0.52-0.96]; P=0.028) and the total number of all hospitalizations that required a vasopressor or positive inotropic drug (hazard ratio, 0.73 [95% CI, 0.55-0.97]; P=0.033). Compared with patients in the placebo group, fewer patients in the empagliflozin group reported outpatient intensification of diuretics (482 versus 610; hazard ratio, 0.76 [95% CI, 0.67-0.86]; P<0.0001), and patients assigned to empagliflozin were 20% to 50% more likely to have a better New York Heart Association functional class, with significant effects at 12 weeks that were maintained for at least 2 years. The benefit on total heart failure hospitalizations was similar in patients with an ejection fraction of >40% to <50% and 50% to <60%, but was attenuated at higher ejection fractions.
Conclusions
In patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, empagliflozin produced a meaningful, early, and sustained reduction in the risk and severity of a broad range of inpatient and outpatient worsening heart failure events. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT03057977.



Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1284-1294
Packer M, Butler J, Zannad F, Filippatos G, ... Schnee JM, Anker SD
Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1284-1294 | PMID: 34459213
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Abstract

Role of Venous Endothelial Cells in Developmental and Pathologic Angiogenesis.

Lee HW, Xu Y, He L, Choi W, ... Jin SW, Simons M
Background
Angiogenesis is a dynamic process that involves expansion of a preexisting vascular network that can occur in a number of physiological and pathological settings. Despite its importance, the origin of the new angiogenic vasculature is poorly defined. In particular, the primary subtype of endothelial cells (capillary, venous, arterial) driving this process remains undefined.
Methods
Endothelial cells were fate-mapped with the use of genetic markers specific to arterial and capillary cells. In addition, we identified a novel venous endothelial marker gene (Gm5127) and used it to generate inducible venous endothelium-specific Cre and Dre driver mouse lines. Contributions of these various types of endothelial cells to angiogenesis were examined during normal postnatal development and in disease-specific setting.
Results
Using a comprehensive set of endothelial subtype-specific inducible reporter mice, including tip, arterial, and venous endothelial reporter lines, we showed that venous endothelial cells are the primary endothelial subtype responsible for the expansion of an angiogenic vascular network. During physiological angiogenesis, venous endothelial cells proliferate, migrating against the blood flow and differentiating into tip, capillary, and arterial endothelial cells of the new vasculature. Using intravital 2-photon imaging, we observed venous endothelial cells migrating against the blood flow to form new blood vessels. Venous endothelial cell migration also plays a key role in pathological angiogenesis. This was observed both in formation of arteriovenous malformations in mice with inducible endothelium-specific Smad4 deletion mice and in pathological vessel growth seen in oxygen-induced retinopathy.
Conclusions
Our studies establish that venous endothelial cells are the primary endothelial subtype responsible for normal expansion of vascular networks, formation of arteriovenous malformations, and pathological angiogenesis. These observations highlight the central role of the venous endothelium in normal development and disease pathogenesis.



Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1308-1322
Lee HW, Xu Y, He L, Choi W, ... Jin SW, Simons M
Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1308-1322 | PMID: 34474596
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Abstract

Antithrombotic Therapy in Patients Undergoing Transcatheter Interventions for Structural Heart Disease.

Calabrò P, Gragnano F, Niccoli G, Marcucci R, ... Indolfi C, Angiolillo DJ
Contemporary evidence supports device-based transcatheter interventions for the management of patients with structural heart disease. These procedures, which include aortic valve implantation, mitral or tricuspid valve repair/implantation, left atrial appendage occlusion, and patent foramen ovale closure, profoundly differ with respect to clinical indications and procedural aspects. Yet, patients undergoing transcatheter cardiac interventions require antithrombotic therapy before, during, or after the procedure to prevent thromboembolic events. However, these therapies are associated with an increased risk of bleeding complications. To date, challenges and controversies exist regarding balancing the risk of thrombotic and bleeding complications in these patients such that the optimal antithrombotic regimens to adopt in each specific procedure is still unclear. In this review, we summarize current evidence on antithrombotic therapies for device-based transcatheter interventions targeting structural heart disease and emphasize the importance of a tailored approach in these patients.



Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1323-1343
Calabrò P, Gragnano F, Niccoli G, Marcucci R, ... Indolfi C, Angiolillo DJ
Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1323-1343 | PMID: 34662163
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Abstract

Social Vulnerability and Premature Cardiovascular Mortality Among US Counties, 2014 to 2018.

Khan SU, Javed Z, Lone AN, Dani SS, ... Cainzos-Achirica M, Nasir K
Background
Substantial differences exist between United States counties with regards to premature (<65 years of age) cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality. Whether underlying social vulnerabilities of counties influence premature CVD mortality is uncertain.
Methods
In this cross-sectional study (2014-2018), we linked county-level CDC/ATSDR SVI (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry Social Vulnerability Index) data with county-level CDC WONDER (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Wide-Ranging Online Data for Epidemiological Research) mortality data. We calculated scores for overall SVI and its 4 subcomponents (ie, socioeconomic status; household composition and disability; minority status and language; and housing type and transportation) using 15 social attributes. Scores were presented as percentile rankings by county, further classified as quartiles on the basis of their distribution among all US counties (1st [least vulnerable] = 0 to 0.25; 4th [most vulnerable = 0.75 to 1.00]). We grouped age-adjusted mortality rates per 100 000 person-years for overall CVD and its subtypes (ischemic heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and heart failure) for nonelderly (<65 years of age) adults across SVI quartiles.
Results
Overall, the age-adjusted CVD mortality rate per 100 000 person-years was 47.0 (ischemic heart disease, 28.3; stroke, 7.9; hypertension, 8.4; and heart failure, 2.4). The largest concentration of counties with more social vulnerabilities and CVD mortality were clustered across the southwestern and southeastern parts of the United States. The age-adjusted CVD mortality rates increased in a stepwise manner from 1st to 4th SVI quartiles. Counties in the 4th SVI quartile had significantly higher mortality for CVD (rate ratio, 1.84 [95% CI, 1.43-2.36]), ischemic heart disease (1.52 [1.09-2.13]), stroke (2.03 [1.12-3.70]), hypertension (2.71 [1.54-4.75]), and heart failure (3.38 [1.32-8.61]) than those in the 1st SVI quartile. The relative risks varied considerably by demographic characteristics. For example, among all ethnicities/races, non-Hispanic Black adults in the 4th SVI quartile versus the 1st SVI quartile exclusively had significantly higher relative risks of stroke (1.65 [1.07-2.54]) and heart failure (2.42 [1.29-4.55]) mortality. Rural counties with more social vulnerabilities had 2- to 5-fold higher mortality attributable to CVD and subtypes.
Conclusions
In this analysis, US counties with more social vulnerabilities had higher premature CVD mortality, varied by demographic characteristics and rurality. Focused public health interventions should address the socioeconomic disparities faced by underserved communities to curb the growing burden of premature CVD.



Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1272-1279
Khan SU, Javed Z, Lone AN, Dani SS, ... Cainzos-Achirica M, Nasir K
Circulation: 18 Oct 2021; 144:1272-1279 | PMID: 34662161
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Abstract

Predictors of Development of Atrial Fibrillation in Patients With Embolic Stroke Of Undetermined Source: An Analysis of the RE-SPECT ESUS Trial.

Bahit MC, Sacco RL, Easton JD, Meyerhoff J, ... Segura T, Granger CB
Background: A proportion of patients with embolic stroke of undetermined source (ESUS) have silent atrial fibrillation (AF) or develop AF after the initial evaluation. Better understanding of risk for development of AF is critical to implement optimal monitoring strategies with the goal of preventing recurrent stroke due to underlying AF. The RE-SPECT ESUS trial provides an opportunity to assess predictors for developing AF and associated recurrent stroke.
Methods:
RE-SPECT ESUS was a randomized, controlled trial (564 sites, 42 countries) assessing dabigatran versus aspirin for the prevention of recurrent stroke in patients with ESUS. Of 5390 patients enrolled and followed for a median of 19 months, 403 (7.5%) were found to develop AF reported as an adverse event or using cardiac monitoring per standard clinical care. Univariable and multivariable regression analyses were performed to define predictors of AF.
Results:
In the multivariable model, older age (odds ratio [OR] for 10-year increase 1.99 [1.78-2.23]; P<0.001), hypertension (1.36 [1.03-1.79]; P=0.0304), diabetes (OR 0.74 [0.56-0.96]; P=0.022), and body mass index (OR for 5-unit increase 1.29 [1.16-1.43]; P<0.001) were independent predictors of AF during the study. In a sensitivity analysis restricted to 1117 patients with baseline N-terminal prohormone of brain natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP) measurements, only older age and higher NT-proBNP were significant independent predictors of AF. Performances of several published predictive models were assessed, including the HAVOC and CHA2DS2-VASc scores, and higher scores were associated with higher rates of developing AF. Conclusions: Besides age as the most important variable, several other factors, including hypertension, higher body mass index, and lack of diabetes, are independent predictors of AF after ESUS. When baseline NT-proBNP was available, only older age and elevation of this biomarker were predictive of subsequent AF. Understanding who is at higher risk of developing AF will assist in identifying patients who may benefit from more intense, long-term cardiac monitoring.




Circulation: 14 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Bahit MC, Sacco RL, Easton JD, Meyerhoff J, ... Segura T, Granger CB
Circulation: 14 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34649459
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Impact:
Abstract

Loss of Mitochondrial Ca Uniporter Limits Inotropic Reserve and Provides Trigger and Substrate for Arrhythmias in Barth Syndrome Cardiomyopathy.

Bertero E, Nickel A, Kohlhaas M, Hohl M, ... Prates Roma L, Maack C
Background: Barth syndrome (BTHS) is caused by mutations of the gene encoding tafazzin, which catalyzes maturation of mitochondrial cardiolipin and often manifests with systolic dysfunction during early infancy. Beyond the first months of life, BTHS cardiomyopathy typically transitions to a phenotype of diastolic dysfunction with preserved ejection fraction, blunted contractile reserve during exercise and arrhythmic vulnerability. Previous studies traced BTHS cardiomyopathy to mitochondrial formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). Since mitochondrial function and ROS formation are regulated by excitation-contraction (EC) coupling, integrated analysis of mechano-energetic coupling is required to delineate the pathomechanisms of BTHS cardiomyopathy.
Methods:
We analyzed cardiac function and structure in a mouse model with global knockdown of tafazzin (Taz-KD) compared to wild-type (WT) littermates. Respiratory chain assembly and function, ROS emission, and Ca2+ uptake were determined in isolated mitochondria. EC coupling was integrated with mitochondrial redox state, ROS, and Ca2+ uptake in isolated, unloaded or preloaded cardiac myocytes, and cardiac hemodynamics analyzed in vivo.
Results:
Taz-KD mice develop heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (>50%) and age-dependent progression of diastolic dysfunction in the absence of fibrosis. Increased myofilament Ca2+ affinity and slowed cross-bridge cycling caused diastolic dysfunction, partly compensated by accelerated diastolic Ca2+ decay through preactivated sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA). Taz deficiency provoked heart-specific loss of mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (MCU) protein that prevented Ca2+-induced activation of the Krebs cycle during β-adrenergic stimulation, oxidizing pyridine nucleotides and triggering arrhythmias in cardiac myocytes. In vivo, Taz-KD mice displayed prolonged QRS duration as a substrate for arrhythmias, and a lack of inotropic response to β-adrenergic stimulation. Cellular arrhythmias and QRS prolongation, but not the defective inotropic reserve, were restored by inhibiting Ca2+ export via the mitochondrial Na+/Ca2+ exchanger. All alterations occurred in the absence of excess mitochondrial ROS in vitro or in vivo. Conclusions: Downregulation of MCU, increased myofilament Ca2+ affinity, and preactivated SERCA provoke mechano-energetic uncoupling that explains diastolic dysfunction and the lack of inotropic reserve in BTHS cardiomyopathy. Furthermore, defective mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake provides a trigger and a substrate for ventricular arrhythmias. These insights can guide the ongoing search for a cure of this orphaned disease.




Circulation: 13 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Bertero E, Nickel A, Kohlhaas M, Hohl M, ... Prates Roma L, Maack C
Circulation: 13 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34648376
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Impact:
Abstract

Long Non-coding RNA MIAT Controls Advanced Atherosclerotic Lesion Formation and Plaque Destabilization.

Fasolo F, Jin H, Winski G, Chernogubova E, ... Paloschi V, Maegdefessel L
Background: Long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) are important regulators of biological processes involved in vascular tissue homeostasis and disease development. The current study assessed the functional contribution of the lncRNA Myocardial Infarction Associated Transcript (MIAT) to atherosclerosis and carotid artery disease.
Methods:
We profiled differences in RNA transcript expression in patients with advanced carotid artery atherosclerotic lesions from the Biobank of Karolinska Endarterectomies (BiKE). The lncRNA MIAT was identified as the most upregulated non-coding RNA transcript in carotid plaques compared to non-atherosclerotic control arteries, which was confirmed by quantitative real time PCR (qRT-PCR) and in situ hybridization.
Results:
Experimental knockdown of MIAT, utilizing site-specific antisense oligonucleotides (LNA-GapmeRs) not only markedly decreased proliferation and migration rates of cultured human carotid artery smooth muscle cells (SMCs), but also increased their apoptosis. Mechanistically, MIAT regulated SMC proliferation via the EGR1-ELK1-ERK pathway. MIAT is further involved in SMC phenotypic transition to proinflammatory macrophage-like cells through binding to the promoter region of KLF4 and enhancing its transcription. Studies using Miat-/- and Miat-/- ApoE-/- mice as well as Yucatan LDLR-/- mini-pigs confirmed the regulatory role of this lncRNA in SMC de- and trans-differentiation and advanced atherosclerotic lesion formation. Conclusions: The lncRNA MIAT is a novel regulator of cellular processes in advanced atherosclerosis that controls proliferation, apoptosis, and phenotypic transition of SMCs as well as the pro-inflammatory properties of macrophages.




Circulation: 13 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Fasolo F, Jin H, Winski G, Chernogubova E, ... Paloschi V, Maegdefessel L
Circulation: 13 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34647815
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Impact:
Abstract

Systems of Care for ST-Segment-Elevation Myocardial Infarction: A Policy Statement From the American Heart Association.

Jacobs AK, Ali MJ, Best PJ, Bieniarz MC, ... Zègre-Hemsey JK, American Heart Association Advocacy Coordinating Committee
The introduction of Mission: Lifeline significantly increased timely access to percutaneous coronary intervention for patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). In the years since, morbidity and mortality rates have declined, and research has led to significant developments that have broadened our concept of the STEMI system of care. However, significant barriers and opportunities remain. From community education to 9-1-1 activation and emergency medical services triage and from emergency department and interfacility transfer protocols to postacute care, each critical juncture presents unique challenges for the optimal care of patients with STEMI. This policy statement sets forth recommendations for how the ideal STEMI system of care should be designed and implemented to ensure that patients with STEMI receive the best evidence-based care at each stage in their illness.



Circulation: 12 Oct 2021:CIR0000000000001025; epub ahead of print
Jacobs AK, Ali MJ, Best PJ, Bieniarz MC, ... Zègre-Hemsey JK, American Heart Association Advocacy Coordinating Committee
Circulation: 12 Oct 2021:CIR0000000000001025; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34641735
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Impact:
Abstract

Nidogen-2 Maintains the Contractile Phenotype of Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells and Prevents Neointima Formation via Bridging Jagged1-Notch3 Signaling.

Mao C, Ma Z, Jia Y, Li W, ... Fu Y, Kong W
Background
How the extracellular matrix (ECM) microenvironment modulates the contractile phenotype of vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs) and confers vascular homeostasis remains elusive.
Methods
To explore the key ECM proteins in the maintenance of the contractile phenotype of VSMCs, we applied protein-protein interaction network analysis to explore novel ECM proteins associated with the VSMC phenotype. By combining in vitro and in vivo genetic mice vascular injury models, we identified nidogen-2, a basement membrane glycoprotein, as a key ECM protein for maintenance of vascular smooth muscle cell identity.
Results
We collected a VSMC phenotype-related gene dataset by using Gene Ontology annotation combined with a literature search. A computational analysis of protein-protein interactions between ECM protein genes and the genes from the VSMC phenotype-related gene dataset revealed the candidate gene nidogen-2, a basement membrane glycoprotein involved in regulation of the VSMC phenotype. Indeed, nidogen-2-deficient VSMCs exhibited loss of contractile phenotype in vitro, and compared with wild-type mice, nidogen-2-/- mice showed aggravated post-wire injury neointima formation of carotid arteries. Further bioinformatics analysis, coimmunoprecipitation assays, and luciferase assays revealed that nidogen-2 specifically interacted with Jagged1, a conventional Notch ligand. Nidogen-2 maintained the VSMC contractile phenotype via Jagged1-Notch3 signaling but not Notch1 or Notch2 signaling. Nidogen-2 enhanced Jagged1 and Notch3 interaction and subsequent Notch3 activation. Reciprocally, Jagged1 and Notch3 interaction, signaling activation, and Jagged1-triggered VSMC differentiation were significantly repressed in nidogen-2-deficient VSMCs. In accordance, the suppressive effect of Jagged1 overexpression on neointima formation was attenuated in nidogen-2-/- mice compared with wild-type mice.
Conclusions
Nidogen-2 maintains the contractile phenotype of VSMCs through Jagged1-Notch3 signaling in vitro and in vivo. Nidogen-2 is required for Jagged1-Notch3 signaling.



Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:1244-1261
Mao C, Ma Z, Jia Y, Li W, ... Fu Y, Kong W
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:1244-1261 | PMID: 34315224
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Abstract

Reduction in Acute Limb Ischemia with Rivaroxaban versus Placebo in Peripheral Artery Disease after Lower Extremity Revascularization: Insights from VOYAGER PAD.

Hess CN, Debus ES, Nehler MR, Anand SS, ... Bauersachs RM, Bonaca MP
Background: Patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD) are at heightened risk of acute limb ischemia (ALI), a thrombotic event associated with amputation, disability, and mortality. Prior lower extremity revascularization (LER) is associated with increased ALI risk in chronic PAD. However, the pattern of risk, clinical correlates, and outcomes after ALI early after LER are not well-studied, and effective therapies to reduce ALI post-LER are lacking.
Methods:
VOYAGER PAD (NCT02504216) randomized patients with PAD undergoing LER to rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily or placebo on a background of low-dose aspirin. The primary outcome was a composite of ALI, major amputation of vascular cause, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or cardiovascular death. ALI was prospectively ascertained and adjudicated by a blinded committee. The cumulative incidence of ALI was calculated using Kaplan Meier estimates, and Cox proportional-hazards models were used to generate hazard ratios and associated confidence intervals. Analyses were performed as intention-to-treat.
Results:
Among 6,564 patients followed for a median of 2.3 years, 382 (5.8%) had a total of 508 ALI events. In placebo patients, the 3-year cumulative incidence of ALI was 7.8%. After multivariable modeling, prior LER, baseline ABI <0.50, surgical LER, and longer target lesion length were associated with increased risk of ALI. Incident ALI was associated with subsequent all-cause mortality (HR 2.59, 95% CI 1.98-3.39) and major amputation (HR 24.87, 95% CI 18.68-33.12). Rivaroxaban reduced ALI relative to placebo by 33% (absolute risk reduction 2.6% at 3 years, HR 0.67, 95% CI 0.55-0.82, P=0.0001), with benefit starting early (HR 0.45, 95% CI 0.24-0.85, P=0.0068 at 30 days). Benefit was present for severe ALI (associated with death, amputation, or prolonged hospitalization and ICU stay, HR 0.58, 95% CI 0.40-0.83, P=0.003) and regardless of LER type (surgical vs endovascular revascularization, p-interaction=0.42) or clopidogrel use (p-interaction=0.59). Conclusions: After LER for symptomatic PAD, ALI is frequent, particularly early after LER, and is associated with poor prognosis. Low-dose rivaroxaban plus aspirin reduces ALI after LER, including ALI events associated with the most severe outcomes. The benefit of rivaroxaban for ALI appears early, continues over time, and is consistent regardless of revascularization approach or clopidogrel use.




Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Hess CN, Debus ES, Nehler MR, Anand SS, ... Bauersachs RM, Bonaca MP
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34637332
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Abstract

Myeloid-Derived Growth Factor Protects Against Pressure Overload-Induced Heart Failure by Preserving Sarco/Endoplasmic Reticulum Ca-ATPase Expression in Cardiomyocytes.

Korf-Klingebiel M, Reboll MR, Polten F, Weber N, ... Wang Y, Wollert KC
Background
Inflammation contributes to the pathogenesis of heart failure, but there is limited understanding of inflammation\'s potential benefits. Inflammatory cells secrete MYDGF (myeloid-derived growth factor) to promote tissue repair after acute myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that MYDGF has a role in cardiac adaptation to persistent pressure overload.
Methods
We defined the cellular sources and function of MYDGF in wild-type (WT), Mydgf-deficient (Mydgf-/-), and Mydgf bone marrow-chimeric or bone marrow-conditional transgenic mice with pressure overload-induced heart failure after transverse aortic constriction surgery. We measured MYDGF plasma concentrations by targeted liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. We identified MYDGF signaling targets by phosphoproteomics and substrate-based kinase activity inference. We recorded Ca2+ transients and sarcomere contractions in isolated cardiomyocytes. Additionally, we explored the therapeutic potential of recombinant MYDGF.
Results
MYDGF protein abundance increased in the left ventricular myocardium and in blood plasma of pressure-overloaded mice. Patients with severe aortic stenosis also had elevated MYDGF plasma concentrations, which declined after transcatheter aortic valve implantation. Monocytes and macrophages emerged as the main MYDGF sources in the pressure-overloaded murine heart. While Mydgf-/- mice had no apparent phenotype at baseline, they developed more severe left ventricular hypertrophy and contractile dysfunction during pressure overload than WT mice. Conversely, conditional transgenic overexpression of MYDGF in bone marrow-derived inflammatory cells attenuated pressure overload-induced hypertrophy and dysfunction. Mechanistically, MYDGF inhibited G protein-coupled receptor agonist-induced hypertrophy and augmented SERCA2a (sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase 2a) expression in cultured neonatal rat ventricular cardiomyocytes by enhancing PIM1 (Pim-1 proto-oncogene, serine/threonine kinase) expression and activity. Along this line, cardiomyocytes from pressure-overloaded Mydgf-/- mice displayed reduced PIM1 and SERCA2a expression, greater hypertrophy, and impaired Ca2+ cycling and sarcomere function compared with cardiomyocytes from pressure-overloaded WT mice. Transplanting Mydgf-/- mice with WT bone marrow cells augmented cardiac PIM1 and SERCA2a levels and ameliorated pressure overload-induced hypertrophy and dysfunction. Pressure-overloaded Mydgf-/- mice were similarly rescued by adenoviral Serca2a gene transfer. Treating pressure-overloaded WT mice subcutaneously with recombinant MYDGF enhanced SERCA2a expression, attenuated left ventricular hypertrophy and dysfunction, and improved survival.
Conclusions
These findings establish a MYDGF-based adaptive crosstalk between inflammatory cells and cardiomyocytes that protects against pressure overload-induced heart failure.



Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:1227-1240
Korf-Klingebiel M, Reboll MR, Polten F, Weber N, ... Wang Y, Wollert KC
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:1227-1240 | PMID: 34372689
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Abstract

Abbreviated Antiplatelet Therapy in Patients at High Bleeding Risk With or Without Oral Anticoagulant Therapy After Coronary Stenting: An Open-Label, Randomized, Controlled Trial.

Smits PC, Frigoli E, Tijssen J, Jüni P, ... Valgimigli M, MASTER DAPT Investigators
Background
The optimal duration of antiplatelet therapy (APT) in patients at high bleeding risk with or without oral anticoagulation (OAC) after coronary stenting remains unclear.
Methods
In the investigator-initiated, randomize, open-label MASTER DAPT trial (Management of High Bleeding Risk Patients Post Bioresorbable Polymer Coated Stent Implantation With an Abbreviated Versus Standard DAPT Regimen), 4579 patients at high bleeding risk were randomized after 1-month dual APT to abbreviated or nonabbreviated APT strategies. Randomization was stratified by concomitant OAC indication. In this subgroup analysis, we report outcomes of populations with or without an OAC indication. In the population with an OAC indication, patients changed immediately to single APT for 5 months (abbreviated regimen) or continued ≥2 months of dual APT and single APT thereafter (nonabbreviated regimen). Patients without an OAC indication changed to single APT for 11 months (abbreviated regimen) or continued ≥5 months of dual APT and single APT thereafter (nonabbreviated regimen). Coprimary outcomes at 335 days after randomization were net adverse clinical outcomes (composite of all-cause death, myocardial infarction, stroke, and Bleeding Academic Research Consortium 3 or 5 bleeding events); major adverse cardiac and cerebral events (all-cause death, myocardial infarction, and stroke); and type 2, 3, or 5 Bleeding Academic Research Consortium bleeding.
Results
Net adverse clinical outcomes or major adverse cardiac and cerebral events did not differ with abbreviated versus nonabbreviated APT regimens in patients with OAC indication (n=1666; hazard ratio [HR], 0.83 [95% CI, 0.60-1.15]; and HR, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.60-1.30], respectively) or without OAC indication (n=2913; HR, 1.01 [95% CI, 0.77-1.33]; or HR, 1.06 [95% CI, 0.79-1.44]; Pinteraction=0.35 and 0.45, respectively). Bleeding Academic Research Consortium 2, 3, or 5 bleeding did not significantly differ in patients with OAC indication (HR, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.62-1.12]) but was lower with abbreviated APT in patients without OAC indication (HR, 0.55 [95% CI, 0.41-0.74]; Pinteraction=0.057). The difference in bleeding in patients without OAC indication was driven mainly by a reduction in Bleeding Academic Research Consortium 2 bleedings (HR, 0.48 [95% CI, 0.33-0.69]; Pinteraction=0.021).
Conclusions
Rates of net adverse clinical outcomes and major adverse cardiac and cerebral events did not differ with abbreviated APT in patients with high bleeding risk with or without an OAC indication and resulted in lower bleeding rates in patients without an OAC indication. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT03023020.



Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:1196-1211
Smits PC, Frigoli E, Tijssen J, Jüni P, ... Valgimigli M, MASTER DAPT Investigators
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:1196-1211 | PMID: 34455849
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Impact:
Abstract

Call to Action: Maternal Health and Saving Mothers: A Policy Statement From the American Heart Association.

Mehta LS, Sharma G, Creanga AA, Hameed AB, ... White CJ, American Heart Association Advocacy Coordinating Committee
The United States has the highest maternal mortality rates among developed countries, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause. Therefore, the American Heart Association has a unique role in advocating for efforts to improve maternal health and to enhance access to and delivery of care before, during, and after pregnancy. Several initiatives have shaped the time course of major milestones in advancing maternal and reproductive health equity in the United States. There have been significant strides in improving the timeliness of data reporting in maternal mortality surveillance and epidemiological programs in maternal and child health, yet more policy reforms are necessary. To make a sustainable and systemic impact on maternal health, further efforts are necessary at the societal, institutional, stakeholder, and regulatory levels to address the racial and ethnic disparities in maternal health, to effectively reduce inequities in care, and to mitigate maternal morbidity and mortality. In alignment with American Heart Association\'s mission \"to be a relentless force for longer, healthier lives,\" this policy statement outlines the inequities that influence disparities in maternal outcomes and current policy approaches to improving maternal health and suggests additional potentially impactful actions to improve maternal outcomes and ultimately save mothers\' lives.



Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:e251-e269
Mehta LS, Sharma G, Creanga AA, Hameed AB, ... White CJ, American Heart Association Advocacy Coordinating Committee
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:e251-e269 | PMID: 34493059
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Impact:
Abstract

Guidance for Timely and Appropriate Referral of Patients With Advanced Heart Failure: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.

Morris AA, Khazanie P, Drazner MH, Albert NM, ... American Heart Association Heart Failure and Transplantation Committee of the Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention; and Council on Hypertension
Among the estimated 6.2 million Americans living with heart failure (HF), ≈5%/y may progress to advanced, or stage D, disease. Advanced HF has a high morbidity and mortality, such that early recognition of this condition is important to optimize care. Delayed referral or lack of referral in patients who are likely to derive benefit from an advanced HF evaluation can have important adverse consequences for patients and their families. A 2-step process can be used by practitioners when considering referral of a patient with advanced HF for consideration of advanced therapies, focused on recognizing the clinical clues associated with stage D HF and assessing potential benefits of referral to an advanced HF center. Although patients are often referred to an advanced HF center to undergo evaluation for advanced therapies such as heart transplantation or implantation of a left ventricular assist device, there are other reasons to refer, including access to the infrastructure and multidisciplinary team of the advanced HF center that offers a broad range of expertise. The intent of this statement is to provide a framework for practitioners and health systems to help identify and refer patients with HF who are most likely to derive benefit from referral to an advanced HF center.



Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:e238-e250
Morris AA, Khazanie P, Drazner MH, Albert NM, ... American Heart Association Heart Failure and Transplantation Committee of the Council on Clinical Cardiology; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention; and Council on Hypertension
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:e238-e250 | PMID: 34503343
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Impact:
Abstract

Effects of Lifestyle Modification on Patients With Resistant Hypertension: Results of the TRIUMPH Randomized Clinical Trial.

Blumenthal JA, Hinderliter AL, Smith PJ, Mabe S, ... Liao L, Sherwood A
Background
Although lifestyle modifications generally are effective in lowering blood pressure (BP) among patients with unmedicated hypertension and in those treated with 1 or 2 antihypertensive agents, the value of exercise and diet for lowering BP in patients with resistant hypertension is unknown.
Methods
One hundred forty patients with resistant hypertension (mean age, 63 years; 48% female; 59% Black; 31% with diabetes; 21% with chronic kidney disease) were randomly assigned to a 4-month program of lifestyle modification (C-LIFE [Center-Based Lifestyle Intervention]) including dietary counseling, behavioral weight management, and exercise, or a single counseling session providing SEPA (Standardized Education and Physician Advice). The primary end point was clinic systolic BP; secondary end points included 24-hour ambulatory BP and select cardiovascular disease biomarkers including baroreflex sensitivity to quantify the influence of the baroreflex on heart rate, high-frequency heart rate variability to assess vagally mediated modulation of heart rate, flow-mediated dilation to evaluate endothelial function, pulse wave velocity to assess arterial stiffness, and left ventricular mass to characterize left ventricular structure.
Results
Between-group comparisons revealed that the reduction in clinic systolic BP was greater in C-LIFE (-12.5 [95% CI, -14.9 to -10.2] mm Hg) compared with SEPA(-7.1 [-95% CI, 10.4 to -3.7] mm Hg) (P=0.005); 24-hour ambulatory systolic BP also was reduced in C-LIFE (-7.0 [95% CI, -8.5 to -4.0] mm Hg), with no change in SEPA (-0.3 [95% CI, -4.0 to 3.4] mm Hg) (P=0.001). Compared with SEPA, C-LIFE resulted in greater improvements in resting baroreflex sensitivity (2.3 ms/mm Hg [95% CI, 1.3 to 3.3] versus -1.1 ms/mm Hg [95% CI, -2.5 to 0.3]; P<0.001), high-frequency heart rate variability (0.4 ln ms2 [95% CI, 0.2 to 0.6] versus -0.2 ln ms2 [95% CI, -0.5 to 0.1]; P<0.001), and flow-mediated dilation (0.3% [95% CI, -0.3 to 1.0] versus -1.4% [95% CI, -2.5 to -0.3]; P=0.022). There were no between-group differences in pulse wave velocity (P=0.958) or left ventricular mass (P=0.596).
Conclusions
Diet and exercise can lower BP in patients with resistant hypertension. A 4-month structured program of diet and exercise as adjunctive therapy delivered in a cardiac rehabilitation setting results in significant reductions in clinic and ambulatory BP and improvement in selected cardiovascular disease biomarkers. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02342808.



Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:1212-1226
Blumenthal JA, Hinderliter AL, Smith PJ, Mabe S, ... Liao L, Sherwood A
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; 144:1212-1226 | PMID: 34565172
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Impact:
Abstract

Palmdelphin Regulates Nuclear Resilience to Mechanical Stress in the Endothelium.

Sáinz-Jaspeado M, Smith RO, Plunde O, Pawelzik SC, ... Bäck M, Claesson-Welsh L
Background: Palmdelphin (PALMD) belongs to the family of Paralemmin proteins implicated in cytoskeletal regulation. Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the PALMD locus that result in reduced expression are strong risk factors for development of calcific aortic valve stenosis (CAVS) and predict severity of the disease.
Methods:
Immunodetection and public database screening showed dominant expression of PALMD in endothelial cells (ECs) in brain and cardiovascular tissues including aortic valves. Mass spectrometry, co-immunoprecipitation and immunofluorescent staining allowed identification of PALMD partners. The consequence of loss of PALMD expression was assessed in siRNA-treated EC cultures, in knockout mice, and human valve samples. RNA sequencing of ECs and transcript arrays on valve samples from an aortic valve study cohort including patients with the SNP rs7543130, informed about gene regulatory changes.
Results:
ECs express the cytosolic PALMD-KKVI splice variant, which associated with RAN GTPase activating protein1 (RANGAP1). RANGAP1 regulates the activity of the GTPase RAN and thereby, nucleocytoplasmic shuttling via Exportin1 (XPO1). Reduced PALMD expression resulted in subcellular relocalization of RANGAP1 and XPO1, and nuclear arrest of the XPO1 cargoes p53 and p21. This indicates an important role for PALMD in nucleocytoplasmic transport and consequently, in gene regulation due to the impact on localization of transcriptional regulators. Changes in EC responsiveness upon loss of PALMD expression included failure to form a perinuclear actin cap when exposed to flow, indicating lack of protection against mechanical stress. Loss of the actin cap correlated with misalignment of the nuclear long axis relative to the cell body, observed in PALMD-deficient ECs, Palmd-/- mouse aorta and human aortic valve samples derived from CAVS patients. In agreement with these changes in EC behavior, gene ontology analysis showed enrichment of nuclear- and cytoskeleton-related terms in PALMD-silenced ECs. Conclusions: We identify RANGAP1 as a PALMD partner in ECs. Disrupting the PALMD/RANGAP1 complex alters the subcellular localization of RANGAP1 and XPO1, and leads to nuclear arrest of the XPO1 cargoes p53 and p21, accompanied by gene regulatory changes and loss of actin-dependent nuclear resilience. Combined, these consequences of reduced PALMD expression provide a mechanistic underpinning for PALMD\'s contribution to CAVS pathology.




Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Sáinz-Jaspeado M, Smith RO, Plunde O, Pawelzik SC, ... Bäck M, Claesson-Welsh L
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34636652
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Impact:
Abstract

Interferon-gamma Impairs Human Coronary Artery Endothelial Glucose Metabolism via Tryptophan Catabolism and Activates Fatty Acid Oxidation.

Lee LY, Oldham WM, He H, Wang R, ... Handy DE, Loscalzo J
Background: Endothelial cells depend on glycolysis for much of their energy production. Impaired endothelial glycolysis has been associated with various vascular pathobiologies, including impaired angiogenesis and atherogenesis. Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ)-producing CD4+ and CD8+ T-lymphocytes have been identified as the predominant pathologic cell subsets in human atherosclerotic plaques. While the immunological consequences of these cells have been extensively evaluated, their IFN-γ-mediated metabolic effects on endothelial cells remain unknown. The purpose of this study was to determine the metabolic consequences of the T-lymphocyte cytokine, IFN-γ, on human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAEC).
Methods:
The metabolic effects of IFN-γ on primary HCAEC were assessed by unbiased transcriptomic and metabolomic analyses combined with real-time extracellular flux analyses and molecular mechanistic studies. Cellular phenotypic correlations were made by measuring altered endothelial intracellular cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) content, wound healing capacity, and adhesion molecule expression.
Results:
IFN-γ exposure inhibited basal glycolysis of quiescent primary HCAEC by 20% through the global transcriptional suppression of glycolytic enzymes resulting from decreased basal hypoxia inducible factor 1α (HIF1α) nuclear availability in normoxia. The decrease in HIF1α activity was a consequence of IFN-γ-induced tryptophan catabolism resulting in ARNT (aryl hydrocarbon receptor nuclear translocator)/HIF1β sequestration by the kynurenine-activated aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR). Additionally, IFN-γ resulted in a 23% depletion of intracellular NAD+ in HCAEC. This altered glucose metabolism was met with concomitant activation of fatty acid oxidation, which augmented its contribution to intracellular ATP balance by over 20%. These metabolic derangements were associated with adverse endothelial phenotypic changes, including decreased basal intracellular cGMP, impaired endothelial migration, and a switch to a pro-inflammatory state. Conclusions: IFN-γ impairs endothelial glucose metabolism via altered tryptophan catabolism destabilizing HIF1, depletes NAD+, and results in a metabolic shift toward increased fatty acid oxidation. This work suggests a novel mechanistic basis for pathologic T-lymphocyte-endothelial interactions in atherosclerosis mediated by IFN-γ, linking endothelial glucose, tryptophan, and fatty acid metabolism with NAD(H) and ATP generation, and their adverse endothelial functional consequences.




Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Lee LY, Oldham WM, He H, Wang R, ... Handy DE, Loscalzo J
Circulation: 11 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34636650
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Impact:
Abstract

Effect of Long-Term Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids Supplementation on the Risk of Atrial Fibrillation in Randomized Controlled Trials of Cardiovascular Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

Gencer B, Djousse L, Al-Ramady OT, Cook NR, Manson JE, Albert CM
Background: Some, but not all, large-scale randomized controlled trials (RCTs) investigating the effects of marine omega-3 fatty acids supplementation on cardiovascular outcomes have reported increased risks of atrial fibrillation (AF). The potential reasons for disparate findings may be dose related.
Methods:
The MEDLINE and Embase databases were searched for articles and abstracts published between January 1, 2012 and December 31, 2020 in addition to a meta-analysis of large cardiovascular RCTs published in 2019. RCTs of cardiovascular outcomes of marine omega-3 fatty acids that reported results for AF, either as pre-specified outcome, adverse event, or a cause for hospitalization, with a minimum sample size of 500 patients and a median followup of at least one year were included. RCTs specifically examining shorter term effects of omega-3 fatty acids on recurrent AF in patients with established AF or post-operative AF were not included. The hazard ratio (HR) for the reported AF outcomes within each trial was metaanalyzed using random-effects model with Knapp-Hartung adjustment and evaluated a doseresponse relationship with a meta-regression model.
Results:
Of 4049 screened records, seven studies were included in the meta-analysis. Of those, five were already detected in a previous meta-analysis of cardiovascular RCTs. Among the 81,210 patients from 7 trials, 58,939 (72.6%) were enrolled in trials testing ≤1gram per day (g/d) and 22,271 (27.4%) in trials testing >1g/d of omega-3 fatty acids. The mean age was 65 years and 31,842 (39%) were female. The weighted average follow-up was 4.9 years. In meta-analysis, the use of marine omega-3 fatty acid supplements was associated with an increased risk of AF (n=2,905; HR 1.25, 95%CI 1.07-1.46, P=0.013). In analyses stratified by dose, the HR was greater in the trials testing >1g/d (HR 1.49, 95%CI 1.04-2.15, P=0.042) as compared with those testing ≤1 g/d (HR 1.12, 95%CI 1.03-1.22, P=0.024, P for interaction<0.001). In metaregression, the HR for AF increased per 1 gr increase of omega-3 fatty acids dosage (HR 1.11, 95%CI 1.06-1.15, P=0.001). Conclusions: In RCTs examining cardiovascular outcomes, marine omega-3 supplementation was associated with an increased risk of AF. The risk appeared to be greater in trials testing >1g/d.




Circulation: 05 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print
Gencer B, Djousse L, Al-Ramady OT, Cook NR, Manson JE, Albert CM
Circulation: 05 Oct 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34612056
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Impact:
Abstract

hiPSC Modeling of Lineage-Specific Smooth Muscle Cell Defects Caused by Variant, and Its Therapeutic Implications for Loeys-Dietz Syndrome.

Zhou D, Feng H, Yang Y, Huang T, ... Mizrak D, Yang B
Background
Loeys-Dietz syndrome (LDS) is an inherited disorder predisposing individuals to thoracic aortic aneurysm and dissection. Currently, there are no medical treatments except surgical resection. Although the genetic basis of LDS is well-understood, molecular mechanisms underlying the disease remain elusive, impeding the development of a therapeutic strategy. In addition, aortic smooth muscle cells (SMCs) have heterogenous embryonic origins, depending on their spatial location, and lineage-specific effects of pathogenic variants on SMC function, likely causing regionally constrained LDS manifestations, have been unexplored.
Methods
We identified an LDS family with a dominant pathogenic variant in the TGFBR1 gene (TGFBR1A230T) causing aortic root aneurysm and dissection. To accurately model the molecular defects caused by this mutation, we used human induced pluripotent stem cells from a subject with normal aorta to generate human induced pluripotent stem cells carrying TGFBR1A230T, and corrected the mutation in patient-derived human induced pluripotent stem cells using CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing. After their lineage-specific SMC differentiation through cardiovascular progenitor cell (CPC) and neural crest stem cell lineages, we used conventional molecular techniques and single-cell RNA sequencing to characterize the molecular defects. The resulting data led to subsequent molecular and functional rescue experiments using activin A and rapamycin.
Results
Our results indicate the TGFBR1A230T mutation impairs contractile transcript and protein levels, and function in CPC-SMC, but not in neural crest stem cell-SMC. Single-cell RNA sequencing results implicate defective differentiation even in TGFBR1A230T/+ CPC-SMC including disruption of SMC contraction and extracellular matrix formation. Comparison of patient-derived and mutation-corrected cells supported the contractile phenotype observed in the mutant CPC-SMC. TGFBR1A230T selectively disrupted SMAD3 (SMAD family member 3) and AKT (AKT serine/threonine kinase) activation in CPC-SMC, and led to increased cell proliferation. Consistently, single-cell RNA sequencing revealed molecular similarities between a loss-of-function SMAD3 mutation (SMAD3c.652delA/+) and TGFBR1A230T/+. Last, combination treatment with activin A and rapamycin during or after SMC differentiation significantly improved the mutant CPC-SMC contractile gene expression and function, and rescued the mechanical properties of mutant CPC-SMC tissue constructs.
Conclusions
This study reveals that a pathogenic TGFBR1 variant causes lineage-specific SMC defects informing the etiology of LDS-associated aortic root aneurysm. As a potential pharmacological strategy, our results highlight a combination treatment with activin A and rapamycin that can rescue the SMC defects caused by the variant.



Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1145-1159
Zhou D, Feng H, Yang Y, Huang T, ... Mizrak D, Yang B
Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1145-1159 | PMID: 34346740
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Impact:
Abstract

Prognostication of Asymptomatic Penetrating Aortic Ulcers: A Modern Approach.

DeCarlo C, Latz CA, Boitano LT, Kim Y, ... Mohebali J, Dua A
Background
Literature detailing the natural history of asymptomatic penetrating aortic ulcers (PAUs) is sparse and lacks long-term follow-up. This study sought to determine the rate of asymptomatic PAU growth over time and adverse events from asymptomatic PAU.
Methods
A cohort of patients with asymptomatic PAU from 2005 to 2020 was followed. One ulcer was followed per patient. Primary end points were change in size over time and the composite of symptoms, radiographic progression, rupture, and intervention; cumulative incidence function estimated the incidence of the composite outcome. Ulcer size and rate of change were modeled using a linear mixed-effects model. Patient and anatomic factors were evaluated as potential predictors of the outcomes.
Results
There were 273 patients identified. The mean age was 75.5±9.6 years; 66.4% were male. The majority of ulcers were in the descending thoracic aorta (53.9%), followed by abdominal aorta (41.4%) and aortic arch (4.8%). Fusiform aneurysmal disease was present in 21.6% of patients at a separate location; 2.6% had an associated intramural hematoma; 23.6% had at least 1 other PAU. Symptoms developed in 1 patient who ruptured; 8 patients (2.9%) underwent an intervention for PAU (1 for rupture, 2 for radiographic progression, 5 for size/growth) at a median of 3.1 years (interquartile range, 1.0-6.5) after diagnosis. Five- and 10-year cumulative incidence of the primary outcome, adjusted for competing risk of death, was 3.6% (95% CI, 1.6%-6.9%) and 6.5% (95% CI, 3.1%-11.4%), respectively. For 191 patients with multiple computed tomography scans (760 total computed tomographies) with a median radiographic follow-up of 3.50 years (interquartile range, 1.20-6.63 years), mean initial ulcer width, ulcer depth, and total diameter were 13.6 mm, 8.5 mm, and 31.4 mm, respectively. A small but statistically significant change over time was observed for ulcer width (0.23 mm/y) and total diameter (0.24 mm/y); ulcer depth did not significantly change over time. Hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, initial ulcer width >20 mm, thrombosed PAU, and associated saccular aneurysm were associated with larger changes in ulcer size over time; however, the magnitude of difference was small, ranging from 0.4 to 1.9 mm/y.
Conclusions
Asymptomatic PAU displayed minimal growth and infrequent complications including rupture. Asymptomatic PAU may be conservatively managed with serial imaging and risk factor modification.



Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1091-1101
DeCarlo C, Latz CA, Boitano LT, Kim Y, ... Mohebali J, Dua A
Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1091-1101 | PMID: 34376058
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Impact:
Abstract

Effect of Rivaroxaban and Aspirin in Patients With Peripheral Artery Disease Undergoing Surgical Revascularization: Insights From the VOYAGER PAD Trial.

Debus ES, Nehler MR, Govsyeyev N, Bauersachs RM, ... Hiatt WR, Bonaca MP
Background
Patients with peripheral artery disease requiring lower extremity revascularization (LER) are at high risk of adverse limb and cardiovascular events. The VOYAGER PAD trial (Vascular Outcomes Study of ASA [Acetylsalicylic Acid] Along With Rivaroxaban in Endovascular or Surgical Limb Revascularization for PAD) demonstrated that rivaroxaban significantly reduced this risk. The efficacy and safety of rivaroxaban has not been described in patients who underwent surgical LER.
Methods
The VOYAGER PAD trial randomized patients with peripheral artery disease after surgical and endovascular LER to rivaroxaban 2.5 mg twice daily plus aspirin or matching placebo plus aspirin and followed for a median of 28 months. The primary end point was a composite of acute limb ischemia, major vascular amputation, myocardial infarction, ischemic stroke, or cardiovascular death. The principal safety outcome was Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction major bleeding. International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis bleeding was a secondary safety outcome. All efficacy and safety outcomes were adjudicated by a blinded independent committee.
Results
Of the 6564 randomized, 2185 (33%) underwent surgical LER and 4379 (67%) endovascular. Compared with placebo, rivaroxaban reduced the primary end point consistently regardless of LER method (P-interaction, 0.43). After surgical LER, the primary efficacy outcome occurred in 199 (18.4%) patients in the rivaroxaban group and 242 (22.0%) patients in the placebo group with a cumulative incidence at 3 years of 19.7% and 23.9%, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.81 [95% CI, 0.67-0.98]; P=0.026). In the overall trial, Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction major bleeding and International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis major bleeding were increased with rivaroxaban. There was no heterogeneity for Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction major bleeding (P-interaction, 0.17) or International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis major bleeding (P-interaction, 0.73) on the basis of the LER approach. After surgical LER, the principal safety outcome occurred in 11 (1.0%) patients in the rivaroxaban group and 13 (1.2%) patients in the placebo group; 3-year cumulative incidence was 1.3% and 1.4%, respectively (hazard ratio, 0.88 [95% CI, 0.39-1.95]; P=0.75) Among surgical patients, the composite of fatal bleeding or intracranial hemorrhage (P=0.95) and postprocedural bleeding requiring intervention (P=0.93) was not significantly increased.
Conclusions
The efficacy of rivaroxaban is associated with a benefit in patients who underwent surgical LER. Although bleeding was increased with rivaroxaban plus aspirin, the incidence was low, with no significant increase in fatal bleeding, intracranial hemorrhage, or postprocedural bleeds requiring intervention. Registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique Identifier: NCT02504216.



Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1104-1116
Debus ES, Nehler MR, Govsyeyev N, Bauersachs RM, ... Hiatt WR, Bonaca MP
Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1104-1116 | PMID: 34380322
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Impact:
Abstract

Teprasiran, a Small Interfering RNA, for the Prevention of Acute Kidney Injury in High-Risk Patients Undergoing Cardiac Surgery: A Randomized Clinical Study.

Thielmann M, Corteville D, Szabo G, Swaminathan M, ... Molitoris B, Mazer CD
Background
Acute kidney injury (AKI) affects up to 30% of patients undergoing cardiac surgery, leading to increased in-hospital and long-term morbidity and mortality. Teprasiran is a novel small interfering RNA that temporarily inhibits p53-mediated cell death that underlies AKI.
Methods
This prospective, multicenter, double-blind, randomized, controlled phase 2 trial evaluated the efficacy and safety of a single 10 mg/kg dose of teprasiran versus placebo (1:1), in reducing the incidence, severity, and duration of AKI after cardiac surgery in high-risk patients. The primary end point was the proportion of patients who developed AKI determined by serum creatinine by postoperative day 5. Other end points included AKI severity and duration using various prespecified criteria. To inform future clinical development, a composite end point of major adverse kidney events at day 90, including death, renal replacement therapy, and ≥25% reduction of estimated glomerular filtration rate was assessed. Both serum creatinine and serum cystatin-C were used for estimated glomerular filtration rate assessments.
Results
A total of 360 patients were randomly assigned in 41 centers; 341 dosed patients were 73±7.5 years of age (mean±SD), 72% were men, and median European System for Cardiac Operative Risk Evaluation score was 2.6%. Demographics and surgical parameters were similar between groups. AKI incidence was 37% for teprasiran- versus 50% for placebo-treated patients, a 12.8% absolute risk reduction, P=0.02; odds ratio, 0.58 (95% CI, 0.37-0.92). AKI severity and duration were also improved with teprasiran: 2.5% of teprasiran- versus 6.7% of placebo-treated patients had grade 3 AKI; 7% teprasiran- versus 13% placebo-treated patients had AKI lasting for 5 days. No significant difference was observed for the major adverse kidney events at day 90 composite in the overall population. No safety issues were identified with teprasiran treatment.
Conclusions
The incidence, severity, and duration of early AKI in high-risk patients undergoing cardiac surgery were significantly reduced after teprasiran administration. A phase 3 study with a major adverse kidney event at day 90 primary outcome that has recently completed enrollment was designed on the basis of these findings (NCT03510897). Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT02610283.



Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1133-1144
Thielmann M, Corteville D, Szabo G, Swaminathan M, ... Molitoris B, Mazer CD
Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1133-1144 | PMID: 34474590
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Impact:
Abstract

No-Touch Versus Conventional Vein Harvesting Techniques at 12 Months After Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting Surgery: Multicenter Randomized, Controlled Trial.

Tian M, Wang X, Sun H, Feng W, ... Huo X, Hu S
Background
Vein graft occlusion is deemed a major challenge in coronary artery bypass grafting. Previous studies implied that the no-touch technique for vein graft harvesting could reduce occlusion rate compared with the conventional approach; however, evidence on the clinical benefit and generalizability of the no-touch technique is scare.
Methods
From April 2017 to June 2019, we randomly assigned 2655 patients undergoing coronary artery bypass grafting at 7 hospitals in a 1:1 ratio to receive no-touch technique or conventional approach for vein harvesting. The primary outcome was vein graft occlusion on computed tomography angiography at 3 months and the secondary outcomes included 12-month vein graft occlusion, recurrence of angina, and major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events. The generalized estimate equation model was used to account for the cluster effect of grafts from the same patient.
Results
During the follow-up, 2533 (96.0%) participants received computed tomography angiography at 3 months after coronary artery bypass grafting and 2434 (92.2%) received it at 12 months. The no-touch group had significantly lower rates of vein graft occlusion than the conventional group both at 3 months (2.8% versus 4.8%; odds ratio, 0.57 [95% CI, 0.41-0.80]; P<0.001) and 12 months (3.7% versus 6.5%; odds ratio, 0.56 [95% CI, 0.41-0.76]; P<0.001). Recurrence of angina was also less common in the no-touch group at 12 months (2.3% versus 4.1%; odds ratio, 0.55 [95% CI, 0.35-0.85]; P<0.01). Rates of major adverse cardiac and cerebrovascular events were of no significant difference between the 2 groups. The no-touch technique was associated with higher rates of leg wound surgical interventions at 3-month follow-up (10.3% versus 4.3%; odds ratio, 2.55 [95% CI, 1.85-3.52]; P<0.001).
Conclusions
Compared with the conventional vein harvesting approach in coronary artery bypass grafting, the no-touch technique significantly reduced the risk of vein graft occlusion and improved patient prognosis. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT03126409.



Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1120-1129
Tian M, Wang X, Sun H, Feng W, ... Huo X, Hu S
Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1120-1129 | PMID: 34510911
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Impact:
Abstract

The Use of Intraoperative Transit Time Flow Measurement for Coronary Artery Bypass Surgery: Systematic Review of the Evidence and Expert Opinion Statements.

Gaudino M, Sandner S, Di Giammarco G, Di Franco A, ... Vallely M, Ruel M
Transit time flow measurement (TTFM) allows quality control in coronary artery bypass grafting but remains largely underused, probably because of limited information and the lack of standardization. We performed a systematic review of the evidence on TTFM and other methods for quality control in coronary artery bypass grafting following PRISMA standards and elaborated expert recommendations by using a structured process. A panel of 19 experts took part in the consensus process using a 3-step modified Delphi method that consisted of 2 rounds of electronic voting and a final face-to-face virtual meeting. Eighty percent agreement was required for acceptance of the statements. A 2-level scale (strong, moderate) was used to grade the statements based on the perceived likelihood of a clinical benefit. The existing evidence supports an association between TTFM readings and graft patency and postoperative clinical outcomes, although there is high methodological heterogeneity among the published series. The evidence is more robust for arterial, rather than venous, grafts and for grafts to the left anterior descending artery. Although TTFM use increases the duration and the cost of surgery, there are no data to quantify this effect. Based on the systematic review, 10 expert statements for TTFM use in clinical practice were formulated. Six were approved at the first round of voting, 3 at the second round, and 1 at the virtual meeting. In conclusion, although TTFM use may increase the costs and duration of the procedure and requires a learning curve, its cost/benefit ratio seems largely favorable, in view of the potential clinical consequences of graft dysfunction. These consensus statements will help to standardize the use of TTFM in clinical practice and provide guidance in clinical decision-making.



Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1160-1171
Gaudino M, Sandner S, Di Giammarco G, Di Franco A, ... Vallely M, Ruel M
Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1160-1171 | PMID: 34606302
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Impact:
Abstract

Cardiac Surgery in Women in the Current Era: What Are the Gaps in Care?

Cho L, Kibbe MR, Bakaeen F, Aggarwal NR, ... Zwischenberger BA, Lindley KJ
Cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality for women in United States and worldwide. One in 3 women dies from cardiovascular disease, and 45% of women >20 years old have some form of CVD. Historically, women have had higher morbidity and mortality after cardiac surgery. Sex influences pathogenesis, pathophysiology, presentation, postoperative complications, surgical outcomes, and survival. This review summarizes current cardiovascular surgery outcomes as they pertain to women. Specifically, this article seeks to address whether sex disparities in research, surgical referral, and outcomes still exist and to provide strategies to close these gaps. In addition, with the growing population of women of reproductive age with cardiovascular disease and cardiovascular risk factors, indications for cardiac surgery arise in pregnant women. The current review will also address the unique issues associated with this special population.



Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1172-1185
Cho L, Kibbe MR, Bakaeen F, Aggarwal NR, ... Zwischenberger BA, Lindley KJ
Circulation: 04 Oct 2021; 144:1172-1185 | PMID: 34606298
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Impact:
Abstract

Diagnosis and Management of Patients With Myocardial Injury After Noncardiac Surgery: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.

Ruetzler K, Smilowitz NR, Berger JS, Devereaux PJ, ... Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation; Council on Clinical Cardiology; and Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia
Myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery is defined by elevated postoperative cardiac troponin concentrations that exceed the 99th percentile of the upper reference limit of the assay and are attributable to a presumed ischemic mechanism, with or without concomitant symptoms or signs. Myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery occurs in ≈20% of patients who have major inpatient surgery, and most are asymptomatic. Myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery is independently and strongly associated with both short-term and long-term mortality, even in the absence of clinical symptoms, electrocardiographic changes, or imaging evidence of myocardial ischemia consistent with myocardial infarction. Consequently, surveillance of myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery is warranted in patients at high risk for perioperative cardiovascular complications. This scientific statement provides diagnostic criteria and reviews the epidemiology, pathophysiology, and prognosis of myocardial injury after noncardiac surgery. This scientific statement also presents surveillance strategies and treatment approaches.



Circulation: 03 Oct 2021:CIR0000000000001024; epub ahead of print
Ruetzler K, Smilowitz NR, Berger JS, Devereaux PJ, ... Critical Care, Perioperative and Resuscitation; Council on Clinical Cardiology; and Council on Cardiovascular Surgery and Anesthesia
Circulation: 03 Oct 2021:CIR0000000000001024; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34601955
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Impact:
Abstract

Phenotypic Expression, Natural History and Risk Stratification of Cardiomyopathy Caused by Filamin C Truncating Variants.

Gigli M, Stolfo D, Graw S, Merlo M, ... Sinagra G, Mestroni L
Background: Filamin C truncating variants (FLNCtv) cause a form of arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM): the mode of presentation, natural history and risk stratification of FLNCtv remain incompletely explored. We sought to develop a risk profile for refractory heart failure and life-threatening arrhythmias in a multicenter cohort of FLNCtv carriers.
Methods:
FLNCtv carriers were identified from ten tertiary care centers for genetic cardiomyopathies. Clinical and outcome data were compiled. Composite outcomes were all-cause mortality/heart transplantation/left ventricle assist device (D/HT/LVAD), non-arrhythmic death/HT/LVAD and SCD/major ventricular arrhythmias (SCD/MVA). Previously established cohorts of 46 patients with LMNA and 60 with DSP-related ACM were used for prognostic comparison.
Results:
Eighty-five patients carrying FLNCtv were included (42±15 years, 53% males, 45% probands). Phenotypes were heterogeneous at presentation: 49% dilated cardiomyopathy, 25% arrhythmogenic left dominant cardiomyopathy, 3% arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was <50% in 64% of carriers and 34% had right ventricular fractional area changes (RVFAC=(right ventricular end-diastolic area - right ventricular end-systolic area)/ right ventricular end-diastolic area) <35%. During follow-up (median time 61 months), 19 (22%) carriers experienced D/HT/LVAD, 13 (15%) non-arrhythmic death/HT/LVAD and 23 (27%) SCD/MVA. The SCD/MVA incidence of FLNCtv carriers did not significantly differ from LMNA carriers and DSP carriers. In FLNCtv carriers, LVEF was associated with the risk of D/HT/LVAD and non-arrhythmic death/HT/LVAD. CConclusions: Among patients referred to tertiary referral centers, FLNCtv ACM is phenotypically heterogeneous and characterized by high risk of life-threatening arrhythmias, which does not seem to be associated with the severity of LV dysfunction.




Circulation: 29 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print
Gigli M, Stolfo D, Graw S, Merlo M, ... Sinagra G, Mestroni L
Circulation: 29 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34587765
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Impact:
Abstract

Epigenetic Age and the Risk of Incident Atrial Fibrillation.

Roberts JD, Vittinghoff E, Lu AT, Alonso A, ... Horvath S, Marcus GM
Background: The most prominent risk factor for atrial fibrillation (AF) is chronological age, however underlying mechanisms are unexplained. Algorithms using epigenetic modifications to the human genome effectively predict chronological age. Chronological and epigenetic predicted ages may diverge, a phenomenon termed epigenetic age acceleration (EAA), which may reflect accelerated biological aging. We sought to evaluate for associations between epigenetic age measures and incident AF.
Methods:
Measures for 4 epigenetic clocks (Horvath, Hannum, DNAm PhenoAge, and DNAm GrimAge) and an epigenetic predictor of PAI-1 levels (DNAm PAI-1) were determined for study participants from 3 population-based cohort studies. Cox models evaluated for associations with incident AF and results were combined via random-effects meta-analysis. Two-sample summary-level Mendelian randomization analyses evaluated for associations between genetic instruments of the EAA measures and AF.
Results:
Among 5,600 individuals (mean age: 65.5 years; 60.1% female; 50.7% black), there were 905 incident AF cases during a mean follow-up of 12.9 years. Unadjusted analyses revealed all 4 epigenetic clocks and the DNAm PAI-1 predictor were associated with statistically significant higher hazards of incident AF, though the magnitudes of their point estimates were smaller relative to the associations observed for chronological age. The pooled EAA estimates for each epigenetic measure, with the exception of Horvath EAA, were associated with incident AF in models adjusted for chronological age, race, sex, and smoking variables. Following multivariable adjustment for additional known AF risk factors that could also potentially function as mediators, pooled EAA measures for 2 clocks remained statistically significant. Five year increases in EAA measures for DNAm GrimAge and DNAm PhenoAge were associated with 19% (adjusted hazard ratio [HR]: 1.19; 95% confidence intervals [CI]: 1.09-1.31; p<0.01) and 15% (adjusted HR: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.05-1.25; p<0.01) higher hazards of incident AF, respectively. Mendelian randomization analyses for the 5 EAA measures did not reveal statistically significant associations with AF. Conclusions: Our study identified adjusted associations between EAA measures and incident AF, suggesting biological aging plays an important role independent of chronological age, though a potential underlying causal relationship remains unclear. These aging processes may be modifiable and not constrained by the immutable factor of time.




Circulation: 29 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print
Roberts JD, Vittinghoff E, Lu AT, Alonso A, ... Horvath S, Marcus GM
Circulation: 29 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34587750
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Impact:
Abstract

Integrated Stress Response Couples Mitochondrial Protein Translation with Oxidative Stress Control.

Zhang G, Wang X, Li C, Li Q, ... Scherer PE, Wang ZV
Background: The integrated stress response (ISR) is an evolutionarily conserved process to cope with intracellular and extracellular disturbances. Myocardial infarction is a leading cause of death worldwide. Coronary artery reperfusion is the most effective means to mitigate cardiac damage of myocardial infarction, which however causes additional reperfusion injury. This study aimed to investigate the role of the ISR in myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R).
Methods:
Cardiac-specific gain- and loss-of-function approaches for the ISR were employed in vivo. Myocardial I/R was achieved by the ligation of the cardiac left anterior descending artery for 45 minutes, followed by reperfusion for different times. Cardiac function was assessed by echocardiography. Additionally, cultured H9c2 cells, primary rat cardiomyocytes, and mouse embryonic fibroblasts were used to dissect underlying molecular mechanisms. Moreover, tandem mass tag (TMT) labeling and mass spectrometry was conducted to identify protein targets of the ISR. Pharmacological means were tested to manipulate the ISR for therapeutic exploration.
Results:
We show that the PERK/eIF2α axis of the ISR is strongly induced by I/R in cardiomyocytes in vitro and in vivo. We further reveal a physiological role of PERK/eIF2α signaling by showing that acute activation of PERK in the heart confers robust cardioprotection against reperfusion injury. In contrast, cardiac-specific deletion of PERK aggravates cardiac responses to reperfusion. Mechanistically, the ISR directly targets mitochondrial complexes via translational suppression. We identify NDUFAF2, an assembly factor of mitochondrial complex I, as a selective target of PERK. Overexpression of PERK suppresses the protein expression of NDUFAF2 while PERK inhibition causes an increase of NDUFAF2. Silencing of NDUFAF2 significantly rescues cardiac cell survival from PERK knockdown under I/R. Further, we show that activation of PERK/eIF2α signaling reduces mitochondrial complex-derived reactive oxygen species and improves cardiac cell survival in response to I/R. Moreover, pharmacological stimulation of the ISR protects the heart against reperfusion damage, even after the restoration of occluded coronary artery, highlighting a clinical relevance for myocardial infarction treatment. Conclusions: These studies suggest that the ISR improves cell survival and mitigate reperfusion damage by selectively suppressing mitochondrial protein synthesis and reducing oxidative stress in the heart.




Circulation: 28 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print
Zhang G, Wang X, Li C, Li Q, ... Scherer PE, Wang ZV
Circulation: 28 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34583519
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Impact:
Abstract

Natural History of Patients With Ischemia and No Obstructive Coronary Artery Disease: The CIAO-ISCHEMIA Study.

Reynolds HR, Picard MH, Spertus JA, Peteiro J, ... Maron DJ, Hochman JS
Background
Ischemia with no obstructive coronary artery disease (INOCA) is common and has an adverse prognosis. We set out to describe the natural history of symptoms and ischemia in INOCA.
Methods
CIAO-ISCHEMIA (Changes in Ischemia and Angina over One Year in ISCHEMIA Trial Screen Failures With INOCA) was an international cohort study conducted from 2014 to 2019 involving angina assessments (Seattle Angina Questionnaire) and stress echocardiograms 1 year apart. This was an ancillary study that included patients with a history of angina who were not randomly assigned in the ISCHEMIA trial. Stress-induced wall motion abnormalities were determined by an echocardiographic core laboratory blinded to symptoms, coronary artery disease status, and test timing. Medical therapy was at the discretion of treating physicians. The primary outcome was the correlation between the changes in the Seattle Angina Questionnaire angina frequency score and changes in echocardiographic ischemia. We also analyzed predictors of 1-year changes in both angina and ischemia, and we compared CIAO participants with ISCHEMIA participants with obstructive coronary artery disease who had stress echocardiography before enrollment, as CIAO participants did.
Results
INOCA participants in CIAO were more often female (66% of 208 versus 26% of 865 ISCHEMIA participants with obstructive coronary artery disease, P<0.001), but the magnitude of ischemia was similar (median 4 ischemic segments [interquartile range, 3-5] both groups). Ischemia and angina were not significantly correlated at enrollment in CIAO (P=0.46) or ISCHEMIA stress echocardiography participants (P=0.35). At 1 year, the stress echocardiogram was normal in half of CIAO participants, and 23% had moderate or severe ischemia (≥3 ischemic segments). Angina improved in 43% and worsened in 14%. Change in ischemia over 1 year was not significantly correlated with change in angina (ρ=0.029).
Conclusions
Improvement in ischemia and angina were common in INOCA but not correlated. Our INOCA cohort had a degree of inducible wall motion abnormalities similar to concurrently enrolled ISCHEMIA participants with obstructive coronary artery disease. Our results highlight the complex nature of INOCA pathophysiology and the multifactorial nature of angina. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT02347215.



Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:1008-1023
Reynolds HR, Picard MH, Spertus JA, Peteiro J, ... Maron DJ, Hochman JS
Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:1008-1023 | PMID: 34058845
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Impact:
Abstract

MicroRNA-21 Controls Circadian Regulation of Apoptosis in Atherosclerotic Lesions.

Schober A, Blay RM, Saboor Maleki S, Zahedi F, ... Weber C, Nazari-Jahantigh M
Background
The necrotic core partly formed by ineffective efferocytosis increases the risk of an atherosclerotic plaque rupture. Microribonucleic acids contribute to necrotic core formation by regulating efferocytosis and macrophage apoptosis. Atherosclerotic plaque rupture occurs at increased frequency in the early morning, indicating diurnal changes in plaque vulnerability. Although circadian rhythms play a role in atherosclerosis, the molecular clock output pathways that control plaque composition and rupture susceptibility are unclear.
Methods
Circadian gene expression, necrotic core size, apoptosis, and efferocytosis in aortic lesions were investigated at different times of the day in Apoe-/-Mir21+/+ mice and Apoe-/-Mir21-/- mice after consumption of a high-fat diet for 12 weeks. Genome-wide gene expression and lesion formation were analyzed in bone marrow-transplanted mice. Diurnal changes in apoptosis and clock gene expression were determined in human atherosclerotic lesions.
Results
The expression of molecular clock genes, lesional apoptosis, and necrotic core size were diurnally regulated in Apoe-/- mice. Efferocytosis did not match the diurnal increase in apoptosis at the beginning of the active phase. However, in parallel with apoptosis, expression levels of oscillating Mir21 strands decreased in the mouse atherosclerotic aorta. Mir21 knockout abolished circadian regulation of apoptosis and reduced necrotic core size but did not affect core clock gene expression. Further, Mir21 knockout upregulated expression of proapoptotic Xaf1 (XIAP-associated factor 1) in the atherosclerotic aorta, which abolished circadian expression of Xaf1. The antiapoptotic effect of Mir21 was mediated by noncanonical targeting of Xaf1 through both Mir21 strands. Mir21 knockout in bone marrow cells also reduced atherosclerosis and necrotic core size. Circadian regulation of clock gene expression was confirmed in human atherosclerotic lesions. Apoptosis oscillated diurnally in phase with XAF1 expression, demonstrating an early morning peak antiphase to that of the Mir21 strands.
Conclusions
Our findings suggest that the molecular clock in atherosclerotic lesions induces a diurnal rhythm of apoptosis regulated by circadian Mir21 expression in macrophages that is not matched by efferocytosis, thus increasing the size of the necrotic core.



Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:1059-1073
Schober A, Blay RM, Saboor Maleki S, Zahedi F, ... Weber C, Nazari-Jahantigh M
Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:1059-1073 | PMID: 34233454
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Abstract

Epigenetic Regulation by in Cardiopulmonary Progenitor Cells Is Required to Prevent Pulmonary Hypertension and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Qi H, Liu H, Pullamsetti SS, Günther S, ... Yuan X, Braun T
Background
The pathogenesis of life-threatening cardiopulmonary diseases such as pulmonary hypertension (PH) and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) originates from a complex interplay of environmental factors and genetic predispositions that is not fully understood. Likewise, little is known about developmental abnormalities or epigenetic dysregulations that might predispose for PH or COPD in adult individuals.
Methods
To identify pathology-associated epigenetic alteration in diseased lung tissues, we screened a cohort of human patients with PH and COPD for changes of histone modifications by immunofluorescence staining. To analyze the function of H4K20me2/3 in lung pathogenesis, we developed a series of Suv4-20h1 knockout mouse lines targeting cardiopulmonary progenitor cells and different heart and lung cell types, followed by hemodynamic studies and morphometric assessment of tissue samples. Molecular, cellular, and biochemical techniques were applied to analyze the function of Suv4-20h1-dependent epigenetic processes in cardiopulmonary progenitor cells and their derivatives.
Results
We discovered a strong reduction of the histone modifications of H4K20me2/3 in human patients with COPD but not patients with PH that depend on the activity of the H4K20 di-methyltransferase SUV4-20H1. Loss of Suv4-20h1 in cardiopulmonary progenitor cells caused a COPD-like/PH phenotype in mice including the formation of perivascular tertiary lymphoid tissue and goblet cell hyperplasia, hyperproliferation of smooth muscle cells/myofibroblasts, impaired alveolarization and maturation defects of the microvasculature leading to massive right ventricular dilatation and premature death. Mechanistically, SUV4-20H1 binds directly to the 5\'-upstream regulatory element of the superoxide dismutase 3 (Sod3) gene to repress its expression. Increased levels of the extracellular SOD3 enzyme in Suv4-20h1 mutants increases hydrogen peroxide concentrations, causing vascular defects and impairing alveolarization.
Conclusions
Our findings reveal a pivotal role of the histone modifier SUV4-20H1 in cardiopulmonary codevelopment and uncover the developmental origins of cardiopulmonary diseases. We assume that the study will facilitate the understanding of pathogenic events causing PH and COPD and aid the development of epigenetic drugs for the treatment of cardiopulmonary diseases.



Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:1042-1058
Qi H, Liu H, Pullamsetti SS, Günther S, ... Yuan X, Braun T
Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:1042-1058 | PMID: 34247492
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Impact:
Abstract

Opioid Use and Its Relationship to Cardiovascular Disease and Brain Health: A Presidential Advisory From the American Heart Association.

Chow SL, Sasson C, Benjamin IJ, Califf RM, ... Robson C, Sanchez EJ
The misuse of opioids continues to be epidemic, resulting in dependency and a recent upsurge in drug overdoses that have contributed to a significant decrease in life expectancy in the United States. Moreover, recent data suggest that commonly used opioids for the management of pain may produce undesirable pharmacological actions and interfere with critical medications commonly used in cardiovascular disease and stroke; however, the impact on outcomes remains controversial. The American Heart Association developed an advisory statement for health care professionals and researchers in the setting of cardiovascular and brain health to synthesize the current literature, to provide approaches for identifying patients with opioid use disorder, and to address pain management and overdose. A literature and internet search spanning from January 1, 2012, to February 15, 2021, and limited to epidemiology studies, reviews, consensus statements, and guidelines in human subjects was conducted. Suggestions and considerations listed in this document are based primarily on published evidence from this review whenever possible, as well as expert opinion. Several federal and institutional consensus documents and clinical resources are currently available to both patients and clinicians; however, none have specifically addressed cardiovascular disease and brain health. Although strategic tools and therapeutic approaches for recognition of opioid use disorder and safe opioid use are available for health care professionals who manage patients with cardiovascular disease and stroke, high-quality evidence does not currently exist. Therefore, there is an urgent need for more research to identify the most effective approaches to improve care for these patients.



Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:e218-e232
Chow SL, Sasson C, Benjamin IJ, Califf RM, ... Robson C, Sanchez EJ
Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:e218-e232 | PMID: 34407637
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Impact:
Abstract

Outcomes in the ISCHEMIA Trial Based on Coronary Artery Disease and Ischemia Severity.

Reynolds HR, Shaw LJ, Min JK, Page CB, ... Maron DJ, Hochman JS
Background
The ISCHEMIA trial (International Study of Comparative Health Effectiveness With Medical and Invasive Approaches) postulated that patients with stable coronary artery disease (CAD) and moderate or severe ischemia would benefit from revascularization. We investigated the relationship between severity of CAD and ischemia and trial outcomes, overall and by management strategy.
Methods
In total, 5179 patients with moderate or severe ischemia were randomized to an initial invasive or conservative management strategy. Blinded, core laboratory-interpreted coronary computed tomographic angiography was used to assess anatomic eligibility for randomization. Extent and severity of CAD were classified with the modified Duke Prognostic Index (n=2475, 48%). Ischemia severity was interpreted by independent core laboratories (nuclear, echocardiography, magnetic resonance imaging, exercise tolerance testing, n=5105, 99%). We compared 4-year event rates across subgroups defined by severity of ischemia and CAD. The primary end point for this analysis was all-cause mortality. Secondary end points were myocardial infarction (MI), cardiovascular death or MI, and the trial primary end point (cardiovascular death, MI, or hospitalization for unstable angina, heart failure, or resuscitated cardiac arrest).
Results
Relative to mild/no ischemia, neither moderate ischemia nor severe ischemia was associated with increased mortality (moderate ischemia hazard ratio [HR], 0.89 [95% CI, 0.61-1.30]; severe ischemia HR, 0.83 [95% CI, 0.57-1.21]; P=0.33). Nonfatal MI rates increased with worsening ischemia severity (HR for moderate ischemia, 1.20 [95% CI, 0.86-1.69] versus mild/no ischemia; HR for severe ischemia, 1.37 [95% CI, 0.98-1.91]; P=0.04 for trend, P=NS after adjustment for CAD). Increasing CAD severity was associated with death (HR, 2.72 [95% CI, 1.06-6.98]) and MI (HR, 3.78 [95% CI, 1.63-8.78]) for the most versus least severe CAD subgroup. Ischemia severity did not identify a subgroup with treatment benefit on mortality, MI, the trial primary end point, or cardiovascular death or MI. In the most severe CAD subgroup (n=659), the 4-year rate of cardiovascular death or MI was lower in the invasive strategy group (difference, 6.3% [95% CI, 0.2%-12.4%]), but 4-year all-cause mortality was similar.
Conclusions
Ischemia severity was not associated with increased risk after adjustment for CAD severity. More severe CAD was associated with increased risk. Invasive management did not lower all-cause mortality at 4 years in any ischemia or CAD subgroup. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov. Unique identifier: NCT01471522.



Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:1024-1038
Reynolds HR, Shaw LJ, Min JK, Page CB, ... Maron DJ, Hochman JS
Circulation: 27 Sep 2021; 144:1024-1038 | PMID: 34496632
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Abstract

Incidence and Predictors of Progression to Chagas Cardiomyopathy: Long-Term Follow-Up of Seropositive Individuals.

Nunes MCP, Buss LF, da Silva JLP, Martins LNA, ... Ribeiro ALP, Sabino EC
Background: There are few contemporary cohorts of Trypanosoma cruzi-seropositive individuals, and the basic clinical epidemiology of Chagas disease is poorly understood. Herein, we report the incidence of cardiomyopathy and death associated with T. cruzi seropositivity.
Methods:
Participants were selected in blood banks at 2 Brazilian centers. Cases were defined as T. cruzi-seropositive blood donors. T. cruzi-seronegative controls were matched for age, sex, and period of donation. Patients with established Chagas cardiomyopathy were recruited from a tertiary outpatient service. Participants underwent medical examination, blood collection, electrocardiogram, and echocardiogram at enrollment (2008 to 2010) and at follow-up (2018 to 2019). The primary outcomes were all-cause mortality and development of cardiomyopathy, defined as the presence of a left ventricular ejection fraction <50% and/or QRS complex duration ≥ 120 ms. To handle loss to follow-up, a sensitivity analysis was performed using inverse probability weights for selection.
Results:
We enrolled 499 T. cruzi-seropositive donors (age 48 ± 10 years, 52% male), 488 T. cruzi-seronegative donors (age 49 ± 10 years, 49% male), and 101 patients with established Chagas cardiomyopathy (age 48 ± 8 years, 59% male). The mortality in patients with established cardiomyopathy was 80.9 deaths/1000 person-years (py) (54/101, 53%) and 15.1 deaths/1000py (17/114, 15%) in T. cruzi-seropositives with cardiomyopathy at baseline. Among T. cruzi-seropositive donors without cardiomyopathy at baseline mortality was 3.7 events/1000py (15/385, 4%), which was no different from T. cruzi-seronegative donors with 3.6 deaths/1000py (17/488, 3%). The incidence of cardiomyopathy in T. cruzi-seropositive donors was 13.8 (95% CI 9.5-19.6) events/1000py (32/262, 12%) compared with 4.6 (95% CI 2.3-8.3) events/1000 py (11/277, 4%) in seronegative controls, with an absolute incidence difference associated with T. cruzi seropositivity of 9.2 (95% CI 3.6 - 15.0) events/1000py. T. cruzi antibody level at baseline was associated with development of cardiomyopathy (adjusted OR of 1.4, 95% CI 1.1-1.8). Conclusions: We present a comprehensive description of the natural history of T. cruzi seropositivity in a contemporary patient population. The results highlight the central importance of anti-T. cruzi antibody titer as a marker of Chagas disease activity and risk of progression.




Circulation: 26 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print
Nunes MCP, Buss LF, da Silva JLP, Martins LNA, ... Ribeiro ALP, Sabino EC
Circulation: 26 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34565171
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Abstract

Hyperglycemia Induces Trained Immunity in Macrophages and Their Precursors and Promotes Atherosclerosis.

Edgar L, Akbar N, Braithwaite AT, Krausgruber T, ... Carnicer R, Choudhury RP
Background
Cardiovascular risk in diabetes remains elevated despite glucose-lowering therapies. We hypothesized that hyperglycemia induces trained immunity in macrophages, promoting persistent proatherogenic characteristics.
Methods
Bone marrow-derived macrophages from control mice and mice with diabetes were grown in physiological glucose (5 mmol/L) and subjected to RNA sequencing (n=6), assay for transposase accessible chromatin sequencing (n=6), and chromatin immunoprecipitation sequencing (n=6) for determination of hyperglycemia-induced trained immunity. Bone marrow transplantation from mice with (n=9) or without (n=6) diabetes into (normoglycemic) Ldlr -/- mice was used to assess its functional significance in vivo. Evidence of hyperglycemia-induced trained immunity was sought in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells from patients with diabetes (n=8) compared with control subjects (n=16) and in human atherosclerotic plaque macrophages excised by laser capture microdissection.
Results
In macrophages, high extracellular glucose promoted proinflammatory gene expression and proatherogenic functional characteristics through glycolysis-dependent mechanisms. Bone marrow-derived macrophages from diabetic mice retained these characteristics, even when cultured in physiological glucose, indicating hyperglycemia-induced trained immunity. Bone marrow transplantation from diabetic mice into (normoglycemic) Ldlr -/- mice increased aortic root atherosclerosis, confirming a disease-relevant and persistent form of trained innate immunity. Integrated assay for transposase accessible chromatin, chromatin immunoprecipitation, and RNA sequencing analyses of hematopoietic stem cells and bone marrow-derived macrophages revealed a proinflammatory priming effect in diabetes. The pattern of open chromatin implicated transcription factor Runt-related transcription factor 1 (Runx1). Similarly, transcriptomes of atherosclerotic plaque macrophages and peripheral leukocytes in patients with type 2 diabetes were enriched for Runx1 targets, consistent with a potential role in human disease. Pharmacological inhibition of Runx1 in vitro inhibited the trained phenotype.
Conclusions
Hyperglycemia-induced trained immunity may explain why targeting elevated glucose is ineffective in reducing macrovascular risk in diabetes and suggests new targets for disease prevention and therapy.



Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:961-982
Edgar L, Akbar N, Braithwaite AT, Krausgruber T, ... Carnicer R, Choudhury RP
Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:961-982 | PMID: 34255973
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Abstract

Therapeutic Inhibition of Acid-Sensing Ion Channel 1a Recovers Heart Function After Ischemia-Reperfusion Injury.

Redd MA, Scheuer SE, Saez NJ, Yoshikawa Y, ... Macdonald PS, Palpant NJ
Background
Ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI) is one of the major risk factors implicated in morbidity and mortality associated with cardiovascular disease. During cardiac ischemia, the buildup of acidic metabolites results in decreased intracellular and extracellular pH, which can reach as low as 6.0 to 6.5. The resulting tissue acidosis exacerbates ischemic injury and significantly affects cardiac function.
Methods
We used genetic and pharmacologic methods to investigate the role of acid-sensing ion channel 1a (ASIC1a) in cardiac IRI at the cellular and whole-organ level. Human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes as well as ex vivo and in vivo models of IRI were used to test the efficacy of ASIC1a inhibitors as pre- and postconditioning therapeutic agents.
Results
Analysis of human complex trait genetics indicates that variants in the ASIC1 genetic locus are significantly associated with cardiac and cerebrovascular ischemic injuries. Using human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes in vitro and murine ex vivo heart models, we demonstrate that genetic ablation of ASIC1a improves cardiomyocyte viability after acute IRI. Therapeutic blockade of ASIC1a using specific and potent pharmacologic inhibitors recapitulates this cardioprotective effect. We used an in vivo model of myocardial infarction and 2 models of ex vivo donor heart procurement and storage as clinical models to show that ASIC1a inhibition improves post-IRI cardiac viability. Use of ASIC1a inhibitors as preconditioning or postconditioning agents provided equivalent cardioprotection to benchmark drugs, including the sodium-hydrogen exchange inhibitor zoniporide. At the cellular and whole organ level, we show that acute exposure to ASIC1a inhibitors has no effect on cardiac ion channels regulating baseline electromechanical coupling and physiologic performance.
Conclusions
Our data provide compelling evidence for a novel pharmacologic strategy involving ASIC1a blockade as a cardioprotective therapy to improve the viability of hearts subjected to IRI.



Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:947-960
Redd MA, Scheuer SE, Saez NJ, Yoshikawa Y, ... Macdonald PS, Palpant NJ
Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:947-960 | PMID: 34264749
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Abstract

Prevalence of Subclinical Coronary Artery Atherosclerosis in the General Population.

Bergström G, Persson M, Adiels M, Björnson E, ... Östgren CJ, Jernberg T
Background
Early detection of coronary atherosclerosis using coronary computed tomography angiography (CCTA), in addition to coronary artery calcification (CAC) scoring, may help inform prevention strategies. We used CCTA to determine the prevalence, severity, and characteristics of coronary atherosclerosis and its association with CAC scores in a general population.
Methods
We recruited 30 154 randomly invited individuals age 50 to 64 years to SCAPIS (the Swedish Cardiopulmonary Bioimage Study). The study includes individuals without known coronary heart disease (ie, no previous myocardial infarctions or cardiac procedures) and with high-quality results from CCTA and CAC imaging performed using dedicated dual-source CT scanners. Noncontrast images were scored for CAC. CCTA images were visually read and scored for coronary atherosclerosis per segment (defined as no atherosclerosis, 1% to 49% stenosis, or ≥50% stenosis). External validity of prevalence estimates was evaluated using inverse probability for participation weighting and Swedish register data.
Results
In total, 25 182 individuals without known coronary heart disease were included (50.6% women). Any CCTA-detected atherosclerosis was found in 42.1%; any significant stenosis (≥50%) in 5.2%; left main, proximal left anterior descending artery, or 3-vessel disease in 1.9%; and any noncalcified plaques in 8.3% of this population. Onset of atherosclerosis was delayed on average by 10 years in women. Atherosclerosis was more prevalent in older individuals and predominantly found in the proximal left anterior descending artery. Prevalence of CCTA-detected atherosclerosis increased with increasing CAC scores. Among those with a CAC score >400, all had atherosclerosis and 45.7% had significant stenosis. In those with 0 CAC, 5.5% had atherosclerosis and 0.4% had significant stenosis. In participants with 0 CAC and intermediate 10-year risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease according to the pooled cohort equation, 9.2% had CCTA-verified atherosclerosis. Prevalence estimates had excellent external validity and changed marginally when adjusted to the age-matched Swedish background population.
Conclusions
Using CCTA in a large, random sample of the general population without established disease, we showed that silent coronary atherosclerosis is common in this population. High CAC scores convey a significant probability of substantial stenosis, and 0 CAC does not exclude atherosclerosis, particularly in those at higher baseline risk.



Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:916-929
Bergström G, Persson M, Adiels M, Björnson E, ... Östgren CJ, Jernberg T
Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:916-929 | PMID: 34543072
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Abstract

Coronary Artery Anomalies.

Gentile F, Castiglione V, De Caterina R
Coronary artery anomalies (CAAs) are a group of congenital conditions characterized by abnormal origin or course of any of the 3 main epicardial coronary arteries. Although CAAs have been identified as a common underlying condition in young athletes with sudden cardiac death, the widespread use of invasive and noninvasive coronary imaging has led to increased recognition of CAAs among adults. CAAS are often discovered as an incidental finding during the diagnostic workup for ischemic heart disease. The clinical correlates and prognostic implication of CAAs remain poorly understood in this context, and guideline-recommended therapeutic choices are supported by a low level of scientific evidence. Several studies have examined whether assessment of CAA-related myocardial ischemia can improve risk stratification in these patients, suggesting that multimodality imaging and functional tests may be key in the management of CAAs. The aim of this review is to outline definitions, classification, and epidemiology of the most relevant CAAs, highlighting recent advances and the potential impact of multimodality evaluation, and to discuss current therapeutic opportunities.



Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:983-996
Gentile F, Castiglione V, De Caterina R
Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:983-996 | PMID: 34543069
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Abstract

One-Year Committed Exercise Training Reverses Abnormal Left Ventricular Myocardial Stiffness in Patients With Stage B Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction.

Hieda M, Sarma S, Hearon CM, MacNamara JP, ... Morris M, Levine BD
Background
Individuals with left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy and elevated cardiac biomarkers in middle age are at increased risk for the development of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction. Prolonged exercise training reverses the LV stiffening associated with healthy but sedentary aging; however, whether it can also normalize LV myocardial stiffness in patients at high risk for heart failure with preserved ejection fraction is unknown. In a prospective, randomized controlled trial, we hypothesized that 1-year prolonged exercise training would reduce LV myocardial stiffness in patients with LV hypertrophy.
Methods
Forty-six patients with LV hypertrophy (LV septum >11 mm) and elevated cardiac biomarkers (N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide [>40 pg/mL] or high-sensitivity troponin T [>0.6 pg/mL]) were randomly assigned to either 1 year of high-intensity exercise training (n=30) or attention control (n=16). Right-heart catheterization and 3-dimensional echocardiography were performed while preload was manipulated using both lower body negative pressure and rapid saline infusion to define the LV end-diastolic pressure-volume relationship. A constant representing LV myocardial stiffness was calculated from the following: P=S×[Exp {a (V-V0)}-1], where \"P\" is transmural pressure (pulmonary capillary wedge pressure - right atrial pressure), \"S\" is the pressure asymptote of the curve, \"V\" is the LV end-diastolic volume index, \"V0\" is equilibrium volume, and \"a\" is the constant that characterizes LV myocardial stiffness.
Results
Thirty-one participants (exercise group [n=20]: 54±6 years, 65% male; and controls (n=11): 51±6 years, 55% male) completed the study. One year of exercise training increased max by 21% (baseline 26.0±5.3 to 1 year later 31.3±5.8 mL·min-1·kg-1, P<0.0001, interaction P=0.0004), whereas there was no significant change in max in controls (baseline 24.6±3.4 to 1 year later 24.2±4.1 mL·min-1·kg-1, P=0.986). LV myocardial stiffness was reduced (right and downward shift in the end-diastolic pressure-volume relationship; LV myocardial stiffness: baseline 0.062±0.020 to 1 year later 0.031±0.009), whereas there was no significant change in controls (baseline 0.061±0.033 to 1 year later 0.066±0.031, interaction P=0.001).
Conclusions
In patients with LV hypertrophy and elevated cardiac biomarkers (stage B heart failure with preserved ejection fraction), 1 year of exercise training reduced LV myocardial stiffness. Thus, exercise training may provide protection against the future risk of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction in such patients. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT03476785.



Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:934-946
Hieda M, Sarma S, Hearon CM, MacNamara JP, ... Morris M, Levine BD
Circulation: 20 Sep 2021; 144:934-946 | PMID: 34543068
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Abstract

Outcomes of Participants with Diabetes in the ISCHEMIA Trials.

Newman JD, Anthopolos R, Mancini GBJ, Bangalore S, ... Hochman JS, Maron DJ
Background: Among patients with diabetes mellitus (diabetes) and chronic coronary disease (CCD), it is unclear if invasive management improves outcomes when added to medical therapy.
Methods:
The ISCHEMIA Trials (ISCHEMIA and ISCHEMIA CKD) randomized CCD patients to an invasive (medical therapy + angiography and revascularization if feasible) or a conservative approach (medical therapy alone with revascularization if medical therapy failed). Cohorts were combined after no trial-specific effects were observed. Diabetes was defined by history, HbA1c ≥6.5%, or use of glucose-lowering medication. The primary outcome was all-cause death or myocardial infarction (MI). Heterogeneity of effect of invasive management on death or MI was evaluated using a Bayesian approach to protect against random high or low estimates of treatment effect for patients with vs. without diabetes and for diabetes subgroups of clinical (female sex and insulin use) and anatomic features (coronary artery disease [CAD] severity or left ventricular function).
Results:
Of 5,900 participants with complete baseline data, the median age was 64 years interquartile range (IQR) [57-70], 24% were female, and the median estimated glomerular filtration was 80 ml/min/1.732 IQR [64-95]. Among the 2,553 (43%) of participants with diabetes, median percent hemoglobin A1c was 7% IQR [7-8%], and 30% were insulin treated. Participants with diabetes had a 49% increased hazard of death or MI (HR 1.49; 95% CI: 1.31-1.70, P<0.001). At median 3.1-year follow-up the adjusted event-free survival was 0.54 (95% bootstrapped CI: 0.48, 0.60) and 0.66 (95% bootstrapped CI: 0.61, 0.71) for patients with vs. without diabetes - a 12% (95% bootstrapped CI: 4%, 20%) absolute decrease in event-free survival among participants with diabetes. Female and male patients with insulin-treated diabetes had an adjusted event-free survival of 0.52 (95% bootstrapped CI: 0.42, 0.56) and 0.49 (95% bootstrapped CI: 0.42, 0.56), respectively. There was no difference in death or MI between strategies for patients with vs. without diabetes, or for clinical (female sex or insulin use) or anatomic features (CAD severity or left ventricular function) of patients with diabetes. Conclusions: Despite higher risk for death or MI, CCD patients with diabetes did not derive incremental benefit from routine invasive management compared with initial medical therapy alone. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov Unique identifier: NCT01471522.




Circulation: 14 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print
Newman JD, Anthopolos R, Mancini GBJ, Bangalore S, ... Hochman JS, Maron DJ
Circulation: 14 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34521217
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Abstract

Interleukin-1α Is a Central Regulator of Leukocyte-Endothelial Adhesion in Myocardial Infarction and in Chronic Kidney Disease.

Schunk SJ, Triem S, Schmit D, Zewinger S, ... Ampofo E, Speer T
Background
Cardiovascular diseases and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are highly prevalent, aggravate each other, and account for substantial mortality. Both conditions are characterized by activation of the innate immune system. The alarmin interleukin-1α (IL-1α) is expressed in a variety of cell types promoting (sterile) systemic inflammation. The aim of the present study was to examine the role of IL-1α in mediating inflammation in the setting of acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and CKD.
Methods
We assessed the expression of IL-1α on the surface of monocytes from patients with AMI and patients with CKD and determined its association with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events during follow-up in an explorative clinical study. Furthermore, we assessed the inflammatory effects of IL-1α in several organ injury models in Il1a-/- and Il1b-/- mice and investigated the underlying mechanisms in vitro in monocytes and endothelial cells.
Results
IL-1α is strongly expressed on the surface of monocytes from patients with AMI and CKD compared with healthy controls. Higher IL-1α surface expression on monocytes from patients with AMI and CKD was associated with a higher risk for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease events, which underlines the clinical relevance of IL-1α. In mice, IL-1α, but not IL-1β, mediates leukocyte-endothelial adhesion as determined by intravital microscopy. IL-1α promotes accumulation of macrophages and neutrophils in inflamed tissue in vivo. Furthermore, IL-1α on monocytes stimulates their homing at sites of vascular injury. A variety of stimuli such as free fatty acids or oxalate crystals induce IL-1α surface expression and release by monocytes, which then mediates their adhesion to the endothelium via IL-1 receptor-1. IL-1α also promotes expression of the VCAM-1 (vascular cell adhesion molecule-1) on endothelial cells, thereby fostering the adhesion of circulating leukocytes. IL-1α induces inflammatory injury after experimental AMI, and abrogation of IL-1α prevents the development of CKD in oxalate or adenine-fed mice.
Conclusions
IL-1α represents a key mediator of leukocyte-endothelial adhesion and inflammation in AMI and CKD. Inhibition of IL-1α may serve as a novel anti-inflammatory treatment strategy.



Circulation: 13 Sep 2021; 144:893-908
Schunk SJ, Triem S, Schmit D, Zewinger S, ... Ampofo E, Speer T
Circulation: 13 Sep 2021; 144:893-908 | PMID: 34192892
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Impact:
Abstract

Red Blood Cell and Endothelial eNOS Independently Regulate Circulating Nitric Oxide Metabolites and Blood Pressure.

Leo F, Suvorava T, Heuser SK, Li J, ... Kelm M, Cortese-Krott MM
Background
Current paradigms suggest that nitric oxide (NO) produced by endothelial cells (ECs) through endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) in the vessel wall is the primary regulator of blood flow and blood pressure. However, red blood cells (RBCs) also carry a catalytically active eNOS, but its role is controversial and remains undefined. This study aimed to elucidate the functional significance of RBC eNOS compared with EC eNOS for vascular hemodynamics and nitric oxide metabolism.
Methods
We generated tissue-specific loss- and gain-of-function models for eNOS by using cell-specific Cre-induced gene inactivation or reactivation. We created 2 founder lines carrying a floxed eNOS (eNOSflox/flox) for Cre-inducible knockout (KO), and gene construct with an inactivated floxed/inverted exon (eNOSinv/inv) for a Cre-inducible knock-in (KI), which respectively allow targeted deletion or reactivation of eNOS in erythroid cells (RBC eNOS KO or RBC eNOS KI mice) or in ECs (EC eNOS KO or EC eNOS KI mice). Vascular function, hemodynamics, and nitric oxide metabolism were compared ex vivo and in vivo.
Results
The EC eNOS KOs exhibited significantly impaired aortic dilatory responses to acetylcholine, loss of flow-mediated dilation, and increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure. RBC eNOS KO mice showed no alterations in acetylcholine-mediated dilation or flow-mediated dilation but were hypertensive. Treatment with the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor Nγ-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester further increased blood pressure in RBC eNOS KOs, demonstrating that eNOS in both ECs and RBCs contributes to blood pressure regulation. Although both EC eNOS KOs and RBC eNOS KOs had lower plasma nitrite and nitrate concentrations, the levels of bound NO in RBCs were lower in RBC eNOS KOs than in EC eNOS KOs. Reactivation of eNOS in ECs or RBCs rescues the hypertensive phenotype of the eNOSinv/inv mice, whereas the levels of bound NO were restored only in RBC eNOS KI mice.
Conclusions
These data reveal that eNOS in ECs and RBCs contribute independently to blood pressure homeostasis.



Circulation: 13 Sep 2021; 144:870-889
Leo F, Suvorava T, Heuser SK, Li J, ... Kelm M, Cortese-Krott MM
Circulation: 13 Sep 2021; 144:870-889 | PMID: 34229449
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Impact:
Abstract

Early Rhythm Control Therapy in Patients With Atrial Fibrillation and Heart Failure.

Rillig A, Magnussen C, Ozga AK, Suling A, ... Wegscheider K, Kirchhof P
Background
Even on optimal therapy, many patients with heart failure and atrial fibrillation experience cardiovascular complications. Additional treatments are needed to reduce these events, especially in patients with heart failure and preserved left ventricular ejection fraction.
Methods
This prespecified subanalysis of the randomized EAST-AFNET4 trial (Early Treatment of Atrial Fibrillation for Stroke Prevention Trial) assessed the effect of systematic, early rhythm control therapy (ERC; using antiarrhythmic drugs or catheter ablation) compared with usual care (allowing rhythm control therapy to improve symptoms) on the 2 primary outcomes of the trial and on selected secondary outcomes in patients with heart failure, defined as heart failure symptoms New York Heart Association II to III or left ventricular ejection fraction [LVEF] <50%.
Results
This analysis included 798 patients (300 [37.6%] female, median age 71.0 [64.0, 76.0] years, 785 with known LVEF). The majority of patients (n=442) had heart failure and preserved LVEF (LVEF≥50%; mean LVEF 61±6.3%), the others had heart failure with midrange ejection fraction (n=211; LVEF 40%-49%; mean LVEF 44 ± 2.9%) or heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (n=132; LVEF<40%; mean LVEF 31±5.5%). Over the 5.1-year median follow-up, the composite primary outcome of cardiovascular death, stroke, or hospitalization for worsening of heart failure or for acute coronary syndrome occurred less often in patients randomly assigned to ERC (94/396; 5.7 per 100 patient-years) compared with patients randomly assigned to usual care (130/402; 7.9 per 100 patient-years; hazard ratio, 0.74 [0.56-0.97]; P=0.03), not altered by heart failure status (interaction P value=0.63). The primary safety outcome (death, stroke, or serious adverse events related to rhythm control therapy) occurred in 71 of 396 (17.9%) patients with heart failure randomly assigned to ERC and in 87 of 402 (21.6%) patients with heart failure randomly assigned to usual care (hazard ratio, 0.85 [0.62-1.17]; P=0.33). LVEF improved in both groups (LVEF change at 2 years: ERC 5.3±11.6%, usual care 4.9±11.6%, P=0.43). ERC also improved the composite outcome of death or hospitalization for worsening of heart failure.
Conclusions
Rhythm control therapy conveys clinical benefit when initiated within 1 year of diagnosing atrial fibrillation in patients with signs or symptoms of heart failure. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT01288352. URL: http://www.controlled-trials.com; Unique identifier: ISRCTN04708680. URL: https://www.clinicaltrialsregister.eu; Unique identifier: 2010-021258-20.



Circulation: 13 Sep 2021; 144:845-858
Rillig A, Magnussen C, Ozga AK, Suling A, ... Wegscheider K, Kirchhof P
Circulation: 13 Sep 2021; 144:845-858 | PMID: 34328366
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Abstract

Effect of Colchicine on Myocardial Injury in Acute Myocardial Infarction.

Mewton N, Roubille F, Bresson D, Prieur C, ... Prunier F, Angoulvant D
Background
Inflammation is a key factor of myocardial damage in reperfused ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction. We hypothesized that colchicine, a potent anti-inflammatory agent, may reduce infarct size (IS) and left ventricular (LV) remodeling at the acute phase of ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction.
Methods
In this double-blind multicenter trial, we randomly assigned patients admitted for a first episode of ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction referred for primary percutaneous coronary intervention to receive oral colchicine (2-mg loading dose followed by 0.5 mg twice a day) or matching placebo from admission to day 5. The primary efficacy outcome was IS determined by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging at 5 days. The relative LV end-diastolic volume change at 3 months and IS at 3 months assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging were among the secondary outcomes.
Results
We enrolled 192 patients, 101 in the colchicine group and 91 in the control group. At 5 days, the gadolinium enhancement-defined IS did not differ between the colchicine and placebo groups with a mean of 26 interquartile range (IQR) [16-44] versus 28.4 IQR [14-40] g of LV mass, respectively (P=0.87). At 3 months follow-up, there was no significant difference in LV remodeling between the colchicine and placebo groups with a +2.4% (IQR, -8.3% to 11.1%) versus -1.1% (IQR, -8.0% to 9.9%) change in LV end-diastolic volume (P=0.49). Infarct size at 3 months was also not significantly different between the colchicine and placebo groups (17 IQR [10-28] versus 18 IQR [10-27] g of LV mass, respectively; P=0.92). The incidence of gastrointestinal adverse events during the treatment period was greater with colchicine than with placebo (34% versus 11%, respectively; P=0.0002).
Conclusions
In this randomized, placebo-controlled trial, oral administration of high-dose colchicine at the time of reperfusion and for 5 days did not reduce IS assessed by cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT03156816.



Circulation: 13 Sep 2021; 144:859-869
Mewton N, Roubille F, Bresson D, Prieur C, ... Prunier F, Angoulvant D
Circulation: 13 Sep 2021; 144:859-869 | PMID: 34420373
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Abstract

Doxycycline Combined With Bortezomib-Cyclophosphamide-Dexamethasone Chemotherapy for Newly Diagnosed Cardiac Light-Chain Amyloidosis: A Multicenter Randomized Controlled Trial.

Shen KN, Fu WJ, Wu Y, Dong YJ, ... Zhou DB, Li J
Background: Doxycycline was demonstrated in a retrospective study to be associated with greater survival in patients with light chain (AL) amyloidosis. Therefore, we prospectively compared the efficacy of bortezomib-cyclophosphamide-dexamethasone (CyBorD) and CyBorD combined with doxycycline for cardiac AL amyloidosis.
Methods:
This was a multicenter, open-label randomized controlled trial. Patients with Mayo 2004 stage II-III AL amyloidosis were included. Patients were randomized to doxycycline 100 mg twice daily along with 9 cycles of CyBorD (doxycycline group) or to 9 cycles of CyBorD alone (control group). The primary outcome was 2-year progression-free survival (PFS). PFS was defined as the time from randomization to death, hematologic progression or organ progression (heart, kidney or liver). Hematologic progression was defined based on substantial increase in free light chain. Increase in either N-terminal pro B-type natriuretic peptide or cardiac troponin was the main criterion for defining cardiac progression. Cardiac PFS, defined as the time from randomization to cardiac progression or death, was compared between groups in an exploratory analysis. The corresponding treatment hazard ratio was estimated using a Cox regression model.
Results:
140 patients underwent randomization, with 70 in each group. The median age was 61 (range, 33-78) years with a male: female ratio of 1.75:1. Stage II disease was present in 34 (48.6%) and 33 (47.1%) patients in the doxycycline and control groups, respectively. After a median follow-up duration of 24.4 months, 32/70 (45.7%) of patients in the doxycycline group and 30/70 (42.9%) of patients in the control group experienced progression. PFS was not significantly different between groups (hazard ratio 0.97, 95% CI, 0.59-1.60, p=0.91). Cardiac progression occurred in 29/70 (41.4%) of patients in the doxycycline group and 26/70 (37.1%) of patients in the control group. The death rates for both groups by the end of follow-up was the same, 25/70 (35.7%). There were no significant differences observed for either cardiac PFS (hazard ratio 0.91, 95% CI, 0.54-1.55, p=0.74) or overall survival (hazard ratio 1.04, 95% CI, 0.60-1.81, p=0.89). Conclusions: Our trial demonstrated that doxycycline combined with CyBorD failed to prolong PFS or cardiac PFS compared with CyBorD alone in cardiac AL amyloidosis. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov Unique Identifier: NCT03401372.




Circulation: 09 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print
Shen KN, Fu WJ, Wu Y, Dong YJ, ... Zhou DB, Li J
Circulation: 09 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34503349
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Abstract

Functional Calsequestrin-1 Is Expressed in the Heart and Its Deficiency Is Causally Related to Malignant Hyperthermia-Like Arrhythmia.

Sun Z, Wang L, Han L, Wang Y, ... Zheng Y, Luo D
Background
Calsequestrins (Casqs), comprising the Casq1 and Casq2 isoforms, buffer Ca2+ and regulate its release in the sarcoplasmic reticulum of skeletal and cardiac muscle, respectively. Human inherited diseases associated with mutations in CASQ1 or CASQ2 include malignant hyperthermia/environmental heat stroke (MH/EHS) and catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia. However, patients with an MH/EHS event often experience arrhythmia for which the underlying mechanism remains unknown.
Methods
Working hearts from conventional (Casq1-KO) and cardiac-specific (Casq1-CKO) Casq1 knockout mice were monitored in vivo and ex vivo by ECG and electric mapping, respectively. MH was induced by 2% isoflurane and treated intraperitoneally with dantrolene. Time-lapse imaging was used to monitor intracellular Ca2+ activity in isolated mouse cardiomyocytes or neonatal rat ventricular myocytes with knockdown, overexpression, or truncation of the Casq1 gene. Conformational change in both Casqs was determined by cross-linking Western blot analysis.
Results
Like patients with MH/EHS, Casq1-KO and Casq1-CKO mice had faster basal heart rate and ventricular tachycardia on exposure to 2% isoflurane, which could be relieved by dantrolene. Basal sinus tachycardia and ventricular ectopic electric triggering also occurred in Casq1-KO hearts ex vivo. Accordingly, the ventricular cardiomyocytes from Casq1-CKO mice displayed dantrolene-sensitive increased Ca2+ waves and diastole premature Ca2+ transients/oscillations on isoflurane. Neonatal rat ventricular myocytes with Casq1-knockdown had enhanced spontaneous Ca2+ sparks/transients on isoflurane, whereas cells overexpressing Casq1 exhibited decreased Ca2+ sparks/transients that were absent in cells with truncation of 9 amino acids at the C terminus of Casq1. Structural evaluation showed that most of the Casq1 protein was present as a polymer and physically interacted with ryanodine receptor-2 in the ventricular sarcoplasmic reticulum. The Casq1 isoform was also expressed in human myocardium. Mechanistically, exposure to 2% isoflurane or heating at 41 °C induced Casq1 oligomerization in mouse ventricular and skeletal muscle tissues, leading to a reduced Casq1/ryanodine receptor-2 interaction and increased ryanodine receptor-2 activity in the ventricle.
Conclusions
Casq1 is expressed in the heart, where it regulates sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ release and heart rate. Casq1 deficiency independently causes MH/EHS-like ventricular arrhythmia by trigger-induced Casq1 oligomerization and a relief of its inhibitory effect on ryanodine receptor-2-mediated Ca2+ release, thus revealing a new inherited arrhythmia and a novel mechanism for MH/EHS arrhythmogenesis.



Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:788-804
Sun Z, Wang L, Han L, Wang Y, ... Zheng Y, Luo D
Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:788-804 | PMID: 34162222
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Abstract

Defective Flow-Migration Coupling Causes Arteriovenous Malformations in Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia.

Park H, Furtado J, Poulet M, Chung M, ... Schwartz MA, Eichmann A
Background
Activin receptor-like kinase 1 (ALK1) is an endothelial transmembrane serine threonine kinase receptor for BMP family ligands that plays a critical role in cardiovascular development and pathology. Loss-of-function mutations in the ALK1 gene cause type 2 hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia, a devastating disorder that leads to arteriovenous malformations. Here, we show that ALK1 controls endothelial cell polarization against the direction of blood flow and flow-induced endothelial migration from veins through capillaries into arterioles.
Methods
Using Cre lines that recombine in different subsets of arterial, capillary-venous, or endothelial tip cells, we show that capillary-venous Alk1 deletion was sufficient to induce arteriovenous malformation formation in the postnatal retina.
Results
ALK1 deletion impaired capillary-venous endothelial cell polarization against the direction of blood flow in vivo and in vitro. Mechanistically, ALK1-deficient cells exhibited increased integrin signaling interaction with vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2, which enhanced downstream YAP/TAZ nuclear translocation. Pharmacologic inhibition of integrin or YAP/TAZ signaling rescued flow migration coupling and prevented vascular malformations in Alk1-deficient mice.
Conclusions
Our study reveals ALK1 as an essential driver of flow-induced endothelial cell migration and identifies loss of flow-migration coupling as a driver of arteriovenous malformation formation in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia disease. Integrin-YAP/TAZ signaling blockers are new potential targets to prevent vascular malformations in patients with hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia.



Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:805-822
Park H, Furtado J, Poulet M, Chung M, ... Schwartz MA, Eichmann A
Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:805-822 | PMID: 34182767
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Impact:
Abstract

Cerebrovascular Events in Patients With Centrifugal-Flow Left Ventricular Assist Devices: Propensity Score-Matched Analysis From the Intermacs Registry.

Cho SM, Mehaffey JH, Meyers SL, Cantor RS, ... Uchino K, Yarboro LT
Background
Ischemic and hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accidents remain common among patients with centrifugal-flow left ventricular assist devices, despite improvements in survival and device longevity. We compared the incidence of neurologic adverse events (NAEs) associated with 2 contemporary centrifugal-flow left ventricular assist devices: the Abbott HeartMate3 (HM3) and the Medtronic HeartWare HVAD (HVAD).
Methods
Using the Society of Thoracic Surgeons Interagency Registry for Mechanically Assisted Circulatory Support (Intermacs), we collected data on adult patients who received a centrifugal-flow left ventricular assist device as a primary isolated implant between January 1, 2017, and September 30, 2019. Major NAEs were defined as transient ischemic attack, ischemic cerebrovascular accident, or hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident. The association of HVAD with risk of NAE in the first year after implant was evaluated using propensity score matching to balance for preimplant risk factors. After matching, freedom from first major NAE in the HM3 and HVAD cohorts was compared with Kaplan-Meier curves. A secondary analysis using multivariable multiphase hazard models was used to identify predictors of NAE, which uses a data-driven parametric fit of the early declining and constant phase hazards and the associations of risk factor with either phase.
Results
Of 6205 included patients, 3129 (50.4%) received the HM3 and 3076 (49.6%) received the HVAD. Median follow-up was 9 and 12 months (HM3 and HVAD, respectively). Patients receiving HVAD had more major NAEs (16.4% versus 6.4%, P<0.001) as well as each subtype (transient ischemic attack: 3.3% versus 1.0%, P<0.001; ischemic cerebrovascular accident: 7.7% versus 3.4%, P<0.001; hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident: 7.2% versus 2.0%, P<0.001) than did patients receiving HM3. A propensity-matched cohort balanced for preimplant risk factors showed that HVAD was associated with higher probabilities of major NAEs (% freedom from NAE 82% versus 92%, P<0.001). Device type was not significantly associated with NAEs in the early hazard phase, but HVAD was associated with higher incidence of major NAEs during the constant hazard phase (hazard ratio, 5.71 [CI, 3.90-8.36]).
Conclusions
HM3 is associated with lower hazard of major NAEs than is HVAD beyond the early postimplantation period and during the constant hazard phase. Defining the explanation for this observation will inform device selection for individual patients.



Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:763-772
Cho SM, Mehaffey JH, Meyers SL, Cantor RS, ... Uchino K, Yarboro LT
Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:763-772 | PMID: 34315231
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Abstract

Novel Criteria for the Observe-Zone of the ESC 0/1h-hs-cTnT Algorithm.

Lopez-Ayala P, Nestelberger T, Boeddinghaus J, Koechlin L, ... Mueller C, APACE and TRAPID-AMI Investigators†
Background
The non-ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI) guidelines of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) recommend a 3h cardiac troponin determination in patients triaged to the observe-zone of the ESC 0/1h-algorithm; however, no specific cutoff for further triage is endorsed. Recently, a specific cutoff for 0/3h high-sensitivity cardiac troponin T (hs-cTnT) change (7 ng/L) was proposed, warranting external validation.
Methods
Patients presenting with acute chest discomfort to the emergency department were prospectively enrolled into an international multicenter diagnostic study. Final diagnoses were centrally adjudicated by 2 independent cardiologists applying the fourth universal definition of myocardial infarction, on the basis of complete cardiac workup, cardiac imaging, and serial hs-cTnT. Hs-cTnT concentrations were measured at presentation, after 1 hour, and after 3 hours. The objective was to externally validate the proposed cutoff, and if necessary, derive and internally as well as externally validate novel 0/3h-criteria for the observe-zone of the ESC 0/1h-hs-cTnT-algorithm in an independent multicenter cohort.
Results
Among 2076 eligible patients, application of the ESC 0/1h-hs-cTnT-algorithm triaged 1512 patients (72.8%) to either rule out or rule in NSTEMI, leaving 564 patients (27.2%) in the observe-zone (adjudicated NSTEMI prevalence, 120/564 patients, 21.3%). The suggested 0/3h-hs-cTnT-change of <7 ng/L triaged 517 patients (91.7%) toward rule-out, resulting in a sensitivity of 33.3% (95% CI, 25.5-42.2), missing 80 patients with NSTEMI, and ≥7 ng/L triaged 47 patients toward rule-in (8.3%), resulting in a specificity of 98.4% (95% CI, 96.8-99.2). Novel derived 0/3h-criteria for the observe-zone patients ruled out NSTEMI with a 3h hs-cTnT concentration <15 ng/L and a 0/3h-hs-cTnT absolute change <4 ng/L, triaging 138 patients (25%) toward rule-out, resulting in a sensitivity of 99.2% (95% CI, 96.0-99.9), missing 1 patient with NSTEMI. A 0/3h-hs-cTnT absolute change ≥6 ng/L triaged 63 patients (11.2%) toward rule-in, resulting in a specificity of 98% (95% CI, 96.2-98.9) Thereby, the novel 0/3h-criteria reduced the number of patients in the observe zone by 36%s and the number of type 1 myocardial infarction by 50%. Findings were confirmed in both internal and external validation.
Conclusions
A combination of a 3h-hs-cTnT concentration (<15 ng/L) and a 0/3h absolute change (<4 ng/L) is necessary to safely rule out NSTEMI in patients remaining in the observe-zone of the ESC 0/1h-hs-cTnT-algorithm. Registration: URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT00470587.



Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:773-787
Lopez-Ayala P, Nestelberger T, Boeddinghaus J, Koechlin L, ... Mueller C, APACE and TRAPID-AMI Investigators†
Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:773-787 | PMID: 34376064
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Impact:
Abstract

Polymorphic Ventricular Tachycardia: Terminology, Mechanism, Diagnosis, and Emergency Therapy.

Viskin S, Chorin E, Viskin D, Hochstadt A, Schwartz AL, Rosso R
Polymorphic ventricular tachyarrhythmias are highly lethal arrhythmias. Several types of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia have similar electrocardiographic characteristics but have different modes of therapy. In fact, medications considered the treatment of choice for one form of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, are contraindicated for the other. Yet confusion about terminology, and thus diagnosis and therapy, continues. We present an in-depth review of the different forms of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia and propose a practical step-by-step approach for distinguishing these malignant arrhythmias.



Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:823-839
Viskin S, Chorin E, Viskin D, Hochstadt A, Schwartz AL, Rosso R
Circulation: 06 Sep 2021; 144:823-839 | PMID: 34491774
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Abstract

Coronary Microcirculatory Dysfunction and Acute Cellular Rejection After Heart Transplantation.

Lee JM, Choi KH, Choi JO, Shin D, ... Oh JK, Jeon ES
Background: Acute cellular rejection is a major determinant of mortality and re-transplantation after heart transplantation. We sought to evaluate prognostic implications of coronary microcirculatory dysfunction assessed by index of microcirculatory resistance (IMR) for risk of acute cellular rejection after heart transplantation.
Methods:
The current study prospectively enrolled 154 heart transplant recipients who underwent scheduled coronary angiography and invasive coronary physiologic assessment 1 month after transplantation. IMR is microcirculatory resistance under maximal hyperemia. By measuring hyperemic mean transit time using 3 injections (4 mL each) of room-temperature saline under maximal hyperemia, IMR was calculated as hyperemic distal coronary pressure × hyperemic mean transit time. The primary endpoint was biopsy-proven acute cellular rejection of grade ≥2R during 2 years of follow-up after transplantation and was compared using multivariable Cox proportional hazard regression according to IMR. The incremental prognostic value of IMR, in addition to the model with clinical factors, was evaluated by comparison of c-index, net reclassification index (NRI), and integrated discrimination index (IDI).
Results:
Mean age of recipients was 51.2±13.1 years (81.2% male), and cumulative incidence of acute cellular rejection was 19.0% at 2 years. Patients with acute cellular rejection had significantly higher IMR values at 1 month than those without acute cellular rejection (23.1±8.6 vs. 16.8±11.1, P=0.002). IMR was significantly associated with the risk of acute cellular rejection (per 5-unit increase: adjusted HR 1.18, 95% CI 1.04-1.34, P=0.011) and the optimal cut-off value of IMR to predict acute cellular rejection was 15. Patients with IMR≥15 showed significantly higher risk of acute cellular rejection than those with IMR<15 (34.4% vs. 3.8%, adjusted HR 15.3, 95% CI 3.6-65.7, P<0.001). Addition of IMR to clinical variables showed significantly higher discriminant and reclassification ability for risk of acute cellular rejection (C-index 0.87 vs. 0.74, P<0.001; NRI 1.05, P<0.001, IDI 0.20, P<0.001). Conclusions: Coronary microcirculatory dysfunction assessed by IMR measured early after heart transplantation showed significant association with the risk of acute cellular rejection. In addition to surveillance endomyocardial biopsy, early stratification using IMR could be a clinically useful tool to identify patients at higher risk of future acute cellular rejection after heart transplantation. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov Unique Identifier: NCT02798731.




Circulation: 02 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print
Lee JM, Choi KH, Choi JO, Shin D, ... Oh JK, Jeon ES
Circulation: 02 Sep 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34474597
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Abstract

PKM1 Exerts Critical Roles in Cardiac Remodeling Under Pressure Overload in the Heart.

Li Q, Li C, Elnwasany A, Sharma G, ... Fu G, Wang ZV
Background
Metabolic remodeling precedes most alterations during cardiac hypertrophic growth under hemodynamic stress. The elevation of glucose utilization has been recognized as a hallmark of metabolic remodeling. However, its role in cardiac hypertrophic growth and heart failure in response to pressure overload remains to be fully illustrated. Here, we aimed to dissect the role of cardiac PKM1 (pyruvate kinase muscle isozyme 1) in glucose metabolic regulation and cardiac response under pressure overload.
Methods
Cardiac-specific deletion of PKM1 was achieved by crossing the floxed PKM1 mouse model with the cardiomyocyte-specific Cre transgenic mouse. PKM1 transgenic mice were generated under the control of tetracycline response elements, and cardiac-specific overexpression of PKM1 was induced by doxycycline administration in adult mice. Pressure overload was triggered by transverse aortic constriction. Primary neonatal rat ventricular myocytes were used to dissect molecular mechanisms. Moreover, metabolomics and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy analyses were conducted to determine cardiac metabolic flux in response to pressure overload.
Results
We found that PKM1 expression is reduced in failing human and mouse hearts. It is important to note that cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of PKM1 exacerbates cardiac dysfunction and fibrosis in response to pressure overload. Inducible overexpression of PKM1 in cardiomyocytes protects the heart against transverse aortic constriction-induced cardiomyopathy and heart failure. At the mechanistic level, PKM1 is required for the augmentation of glycolytic flux, mitochondrial respiration, and ATP production under pressure overload. Furthermore, deficiency of PKM1 causes a defect in cardiomyocyte growth and a decrease in pyruvate dehydrogenase complex activity at both in vitro and in vivo levels.
Conclusions
These findings suggest that PKM1 plays an essential role in maintaining a homeostatic response in the heart under hemodynamic stress.



Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:712-727
Li Q, Li C, Elnwasany A, Sharma G, ... Fu G, Wang ZV
Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:712-727 | PMID: 34102853
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Impact:
Abstract

Targeting E3 Ubiquitin Ligase WWP1 Prevents Cardiac Hypertrophy Through Destabilizing DVL2 via Inhibition of K27-Linked Ubiquitination.

Zhao D, Zhong G, Li J, Pan J, ... Li Y, Ling S
Background
Without adequate treatment, pathological cardiac hypertrophy induced by sustained pressure overload eventually leads to heart failure. WWP1 (WW domain-containing E3 ubiquitin protein ligase 1) is an important regulator of aging-related pathologies, including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. However, the role of WWP1 in pressure overload-induced cardiac remodeling and heart failure is yet to be determined.
Methods
To examine the correlation of WWP1 with hypertrophy, we analyzed WWP1 expression in patients with heart failure and mice subjected to transverse aortic constriction (TAC) by Western blotting and immunohistochemical staining. TAC surgery was performed on WWP1 knockout mice to assess the role of WWP1 in cardiac hypertrophy, heart function was examined by echocardiography, and related cellular and molecular markers were examined. Mass spectrometry and coimmunoprecipitation assays were conducted to identify the proteins that interacted with WWP1. Pulse-chase assay, ubiquitination assay, reporter gene assay, and an in vivo mouse model via AAV9 (adeno-associated virus serotype 9) were used to explore the mechanisms by which WWP1 regulates cardiac remodeling. AAV9 carrying cardiac troponin T (cTnT) promoter-driven small hairpin RNA targeting WWP1 (AAV9-cTnT-shWWP1) was administered to investigate its rescue role in TAC-induced cardiac dysfunction.
Results
The WWP1 level was significantly increased in the hypertrophic hearts from patients with heart failure and mice subjected to TAC. The results of echocardiography and histology demonstrated that WWP1 knockout protected the heart from TAC-induced hypertrophy. There was a direct interaction between WWP1 and DVL2 (disheveled segment polarity protein 2). DVL2 was stabilized by WWP1-mediated K27-linked polyubiquitination. The role of WWP1 in pressure overload-induced cardiac hypertrophy was mediated by the DVL2/CaMKII/HDAC4/MEF2C signaling pathway. Therapeutic targeting WWP1 almost abolished TAC induced heart dysfunction, suggesting WWP1 as a potential target for treating cardiac hypertrophy and failure.
Conclusions
We identified WWP1 as a key therapeutic target for pressure overload induced cardiac remodeling. We also found a novel mechanism regulated by WWP1. WWP1 promotes atypical K27-linked ubiquitin multichain assembly on DVL2 and exacerbates cardiac hypertrophy by the DVL2/CaMKII/HDAC4/MEF2C pathway.



Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:694-711
Zhao D, Zhong G, Li J, Pan J, ... Li Y, Ling S
Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:694-711 | PMID: 34139860
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Impact:
Abstract

Pravastatin Versus Placebo in Pregnancies at High Risk of Term Preeclampsia.

Döbert M, Varouxaki AN, Mu AC, Syngelaki A, ... Wright D, Nicolaides KH
Background
Effective screening for term preeclampsia is provided by a combination of maternal factors with measurements of mean arterial pressure, serum placental growth factor, and serum soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 at 35 to 37 weeks of gestation, with a detection rate of ≈75% at a screen-positive rate of 10%. However, there is no known intervention to reduce the incidence of the disease.
Methods
In this multicenter, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned 1120 women with singleton pregnancies at high risk of term preeclampsia to receive pravastatin at a dose of 20 mg/d or placebo from 35 to 37 weeks of gestation until delivery or 41 weeks. The primary outcome was delivery with preeclampsia at any time after randomization. The analysis was performed according to intention to treat.
Results
A total of 29 women withdrew consent during the trial. Preeclampsia occurred in 14.6% (80 of 548) of participants in the pravastatin group and in 13.6% (74 of 543) in the placebo group. Allowing for the effect of risk at the time of screening and participating center, the mixed-effects Cox regression showed no evidence of an effect of pravastatin (hazard ratio for statin/placebo, 1.08 [95% CI, 0.78-1.49]; P=0.65). There was no evidence of interaction between the effect of pravastatin, estimated risk of preeclampsia, pregnancy history, adherence, and aspirin treatment. There was no significant between-group difference in the incidence of any secondary outcomes, including gestational hypertension, stillbirth, abruption, delivery of small for gestational age neonates, neonatal death, or neonatal morbidity. There was no significant between-group difference in the treatment effects on serum placental growth factor and soluble fms-like tyrosine kinase-1 concentrations 1 and 3 weeks after randomization. Adherence was good, with reported intake of ≥80% of the required number of tablets in 89% of participants. There were no significant between-group differences in neonatal adverse outcomes or other adverse events.
Conclusions
Pravastatin in women at high risk of term preeclampsia did not reduce the incidence of delivery with preeclampsia. Registration: URL: https://www.isrctn.com; Unique identifier ISRCTN16123934.



Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:670-679
Döbert M, Varouxaki AN, Mu AC, Syngelaki A, ... Wright D, Nicolaides KH
Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:670-679 | PMID: 34162218
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Impact:
Abstract

Lower Extremity Peripheral Artery Disease: Contemporary Epidemiology, Management Gaps, and Future Directions: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.

Criqui MH, Matsushita K, Aboyans V, Hess CN, ... American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention; Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; and Stroke Council
Lower extremity peripheral artery disease (PAD) affects >230 million adults worldwide and is associated with increased risk of various adverse clinical outcomes (other cardiovascular diseases such as coronary heart disease and stroke and leg outcomes such as amputation). Despite its prevalence and clinical importance, PAD has been historically underappreciated by health care professionals and patients. This underappreciation seems multifactorial (eg, limited availability of the first-line diagnostic test, the ankle-brachial index, in clinics; incorrect perceptions that a leg vascular disease is not fatal and that the diagnosis of PAD would not necessarily change clinical practice). In the past several years, a body of evidence has indicated that these perceptions are incorrect. Several studies have consistently demonstrated that many patients with PAD are not receiving evidence-based therapies. Thus, this scientific statement provides an update for health care professionals regarding contemporary epidemiology (eg, prevalence, temporal trends, risk factors, and complications) of PAD, the present status of diagnosis (physiological tests and imaging modalities), and the major gaps in the management of PAD (eg, medications, exercise therapy, and revascularization). The statement also lists key gaps in research, clinical practice, and implementation related to PAD. Orchestrated efforts among different parties (eg, health care providers, researchers, expert organizations, and health care organizations) will be needed to increase the awareness and understanding of PAD and improve the diagnostic approaches, management, and prognosis of PAD.



Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:e171-e191
Criqui MH, Matsushita K, Aboyans V, Hess CN, ... American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention; Council on Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health; Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; and Stroke Council
Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:e171-e191 | PMID: 34315230
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Abstract

Effects of Exercise and Weight Loss on Proximal Aortic Stiffness in Older Adults With Obesity.

Brinkley TE, Leng I, Bailey MJ, Houston DK, ... Nicklas BJ, Hundley WG
Background
Obesity may accelerate age-related increases in aortic stiffness. Although aerobic exercise training generally has favorable effects on aortic structure and function, exercise alone may not be sufficient to improve aortic stiffness in older adults with obesity. We determined the effects of aerobic exercise training with and without moderate- to high-caloric restriction (CR) on the structure and function of the proximal aorta in 160 older (65-79 years) men and women with obesity (body mass index=30-45 kg/m2).
Methods
Participants were randomly assigned to 1 of 3 groups: aerobic exercise training only (treadmill 4 days/week for 30 minutes at 65% to 70% of heart rate reserve; n=56), aerobic exercise training plus moderate CR (n=55), or aerobic exercise training plus more intensive CR (n=49) for 20 weeks. Aortic pulse wave velocity, aortic distensibility, and other measures of aortic structure and function were assessed by cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging. Pearson correlation coefficients were examined to assess associations between changes in proximal aortic stiffness and changes in fitness, fatness, and other potential confounders.
Results
Weight loss in the aerobic exercise training plus moderate CR (-8.0 kg [95% CI, -9.17 to -6.87]) and aerobic exercise training plus more intensive CR (-8.98 kg [95% CI, -10.23 to -7.73) groups was significantly greater compared with the aerobic exercise training-only group (-1.66 kg [95% CI, -2.94 to -0.38]; P<0.017 for both). There were significant treatment effects for descending aorta distensibility (P=0.008) and strain (P=0.004) and aortic arch pulse wave velocity (P=0.01) with the aerobic exercise training plus moderate CR group having a 21% increase in distensibility (P=0.016) and an 8% decrease in pulse wave velocity (P=0.058). None of the aortic stiffness measures changed significantly in the aerobic exercise training-only or aerobic exercise training plus more intensive CR groups, and there were no significant changes in any other measure of aortic structure or function in these groups. Overall, increases in aortic distensibility were correlated with improvements in body weight and body fat distribution, but these associations were not statistically significant after adjustment for multiple comparisons.
Conclusions
In older adults with obesity, combining aerobic exercise with moderate CR leads to greater improvements in proximal aortic stiffness than exercise alone. Registration: URL: https://clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT01048736.



Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:684-693
Brinkley TE, Leng I, Bailey MJ, Houston DK, ... Nicklas BJ, Hundley WG
Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:684-693 | PMID: 34333991
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Abstract

Saphenous Vein Graft Failure: From Pathophysiology to Prevention and Treatment Strategies.

Xenogiannis I, Zenati M, Bhatt DL, Rao SV, ... Bapat VN, Brilakis ES
Saphenous vein grafts (SVGs) remain the most frequently used conduits in coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG). Despite advances in surgical techniques and pharmacotherapy, SVG failure rates remain high, often leading to repeat coronary revascularization. The no-touch SVG harvesting technique (minimal graft manipulation with preservation of vasa vasorum and nerves) reduces the risk of SVG failure, whereas the effect of the off-pump technique on SVG patency remains unclear. Use of buffered storage solutions, intraoperative graft flow measurement, careful selection of the target vessels, and physiological assessment of the native coronary circulation before CABG may also reduce the incidence of SVG failure. Perioperative aspirin and high-intensity statin administration are the cornerstones of secondary prevention after CABG. Dual antiplatelet therapy is recommended for off-pump CABG and in patients with a recent acute coronary syndrome. Intermediate (30%-60%) SVG stenoses often progress rapidly. Stenting of intermediate SVG stenoses failed to improve outcomes; hence, treatment focuses on strict control of coronary artery disease risk factors. Redo CABG is associated with higher perioperative mortality compared with percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI); hence, the latter is preferred for most patients requiring repeat revascularization after CABG. SVG PCI is limited by high rates of no-reflow and a high incidence of restenosis during follow-up. Drug-eluting and bare metal stents provide similar long-term outcomes in SVG PCI. Embolic protection devices reduce no-reflow and should be used when feasible. PCI of the corresponding native coronary artery is associated with better short- and long-term outcomes and is preferred over SVG PCI, if technically feasible.



Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:728-745
Xenogiannis I, Zenati M, Bhatt DL, Rao SV, ... Bapat VN, Brilakis ES
Circulation: 30 Aug 2021; 144:728-745 | PMID: 34460327
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Abstract

AMPLATZER™ AMULET™ LEFT ATRIAL APPENDAGE OCCLUDER VERSUS WATCHMAN™ DEVICE FOR STROKE PROPHYLAXIS (AMULET IDE): A RANDOMIZED CONTROLLED TRIAL.

Lakkireddy D, Thaler D, Ellis CR, Swarup V, ... Windecker S, Amulet IDE Investigators
Background: Percutaneous closure of the left atrial appendage (LAA) is an alternative to chronic oral anticoagulation to reduce stroke risk in patients with non-valvular atrial fibrillation (NVAF). The Amplatzer™ Amulet™ LAA Occluder IDE Trial (Amulet IDE Trial) was designed to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the dual-seal mechanism of the Amulet LAA occluder compared with the Watchman™ device.
Methods:
Patients with NVAF at increased risk of stroke were randomly assigned (1:1) to undergo percutaneous implantation of a LAA occluder with the Amulet occluder or Watchman device. The primary endpoints included safety (composite of procedure-related complications, all-cause death, or major bleeding at 12 months) and effectiveness (composite of ischemic stroke or systemic embolism at 18 months) and the rate of LAA occlusion at 45 days. Pre-specified secondary endpoints included a composite of all stroke, systemic embolism, or cardiovascular/unexplained death at 18 months, major bleeding at 18 months, and superiority test of the three primary endpoints.
Results:
A total of 1878 patients were enrolled. The Amulet occluder was noninferior to the Watchman device for the primary safety endpoint (14.5% vs. 14.7%; difference=-0.14, 95% CI, -3.42-3.13; p<0.001 for noninferiority). Major bleeding and all-cause death were similar between groups (10.6% vs 10.0% and 3.9% vs 5.1%, respectively). Procedure-related complications were higher for the Amulet occluder (4.5% vs. 2.5%), largely related to more frequent pericardial effusion and device embolization. The Amulet occluder was noninferior to the Watchman device for the primary effectiveness endpoint (2.8% vs. 2.8%; difference=0.00, 95% CI, -1.55-1.55; p<0.001 for non-inferiority), and the composite of stroke, systemic embolism or cardiovascular/unexplained death (5.6% vs 7.7%, difference=-2.12, 95% CI, -4.45-0.21; p<0.001 for noninferiority). The rate of major bleeding was similar between groups (11.6% vs. 12.3%; difference=-0.71, 95% CI -3.72-2.31; p=0.32 for superiority). LAA occlusion was higher for the Amulet occluder compared with the Watchman device (98.9% vs. 96.8%; difference=2.03, 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.41-3.66; p<0.001 for noninferiority; p=0.003 for superiority). Conclusions: The Amulet occluder was non-inferior for safety and effectiveness of stroke prevention for NVAF compared with the Watchman device, and superior for LAA occlusion. Procedure-related complications were higher with the Amulet device and decreased with operator experience. Clinical Trial Registration: URL https://clinicaltrials.gov Unique Identifier NCT02879448.




Circulation: 29 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print
Lakkireddy D, Thaler D, Ellis CR, Swarup V, ... Windecker S, Amulet IDE Investigators
Circulation: 29 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34459659
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Abstract

Influenza Vaccination after Myocardial Infarction: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multicenter Trial.

Frøbert O, Götberg M, Erlinge D, Akhtar Z, ... Pocock SJ, Pernow J
Background: Observational and small randomized studies suggest that influenza vaccine may reduce future cardiovascular events in patients with cardiovascular disease.
Methods:
We conducted an investigator-initiated, randomized, double-blind trial to compare inactivated influenza vaccine with saline placebo administered shortly after myocardial infarction (MI) (99.7% of patients) or high-risk stable coronary heart disease (0.3%). The primary endpoint was the composite of all-cause death, MI, or stent thrombosis at 12 months. A hierarchical testing strategy was used for the key secondary endpoints: all-cause death, cardiovascular death, MI, and stent thrombosis.
Results:
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the data safety and monitoring board decided to halt the trial before attaining the prespecified sample size. Between October 1, 2016, and March 1, 2020, 2571 participants were randomized at 30 centers across eight countries; 1290 assigned to influenza vaccine and 1281 to placebo. Over the 12-month follow-up, the primary outcome occurred in 67 participants (5.3%) assigned influenza vaccine and 91 participants (7.2%) assigned placebo (hazard ratio, 0.72; 95% confidence interval, 0.52 to 0.99; P=0.040). Rates of all-cause death were 2.9% and 4.9% (hazard ratio, 0.59; 0.39 to 0.89; P=0.010), of cardiovascular death 2.7% and 4.5%, (hazard ratio, 0.59; 0.39 to 0.90; P=0.014), and of MI 2.0% and 2.4% (hazard ratio, 0.86; 0.50 to 1.46, P=0.57) in the influenza vaccine and placebo groups, respectively. Conclusions: Influenza vaccination early after an MI or in high-risk coronary heart disease resulted in a lower risk of a composite of all-cause death, MI, or stent thrombosis, as well as a lower risk of all-cause death and cardiovascular death at 12 months compared with placebo. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: http://www.clinicaltrials.gov Unique identifier: NCT02831608.




Circulation: 29 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print
Frøbert O, Götberg M, Erlinge D, Akhtar Z, ... Pocock SJ, Pernow J
Circulation: 29 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34459211
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Abstract

Native Aortic Valve Disease Progression and Bioprosthetic Valve Degeneration in Patients with Transcatheter Aortic Valve Implantation.

Kwiecinski J, Tzolos E, Cartlidge TRG, Fletcher A, ... Berman DS, Dweck MR
Background: There remain major uncertainties regarding disease activity within the retained native aortic valve as well as bioprosthetic valve durability following transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI). We aimed to assess native aortic valve disease activity and bioprosthetic valve durability in patients with TAVI in comparison to subjects with bioprosthetic surgical aortic valve replacement (SAVR).
Methods:
In a multicenter cross-sectional observational cohort study, patients with TAVI or bioprosthetic SAVR underwent baseline echocardiography, CT angiography and 18F-sodium fluoride (18F-NaF) positron emission tomography (PET). Participants (n=47) were imaged once with 18F-NaF PET/CT either at one-month (n=9, 19%), 2 years (n=22, 47%) or 5 years (16, 34%) after valve implantation. Subsequently patients underwent serial echocardiography to assess for changes in valve hemodynamic performance (change in peak aortic velocity) and evidence of structural valve dysfunction. Comparisons were made to matched patients with bioprosthetic SAVR (n=51) who had undergone the same imaging protocol.
Results:
In patients with TAVI, native aortic valves demonstrated 18F-NaF uptake around the outside of the bioprostheses that showed a modest correlation with the time from TAVI (r=0.36, p=0.023). 18F-NaF uptake in the bioprosthetic leaflets was comparable between the SAVR and TAVI groups (target-to-background ratio 1.3 [1.2-1.7] versus 1.3 [1.2-1.5] respectively, p=0.27). The frequencies of imaging evidence of bioprosthetic valve degeneration at baseline were similar on echocardiography (6% versus 8% respectively, p=0.78), CT (15% versus 14% respectively, p=0.87) and PET (15% versus 29% respectively, p=0.09). Baseline 18F-NaF uptake was associated with subsequent change in peak aortic velocity for both TAVI (r=0.7, p<0.001) and SAVR (r=0.7, p<0.001). On multivariable analysis, 18F-NaF uptake was the only predictor of peak velocity progression (p<0.001). Conclusions: In patients with TAVI, native aortic valves demonstrate evidence of ongoing active disease. Across imaging modalities, TAVI degeneration is of similar magnitude to bioprosthetic SAVR suggesting comparable mid-term durability. Clinical Trial Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov/ Unique Identifier: NCT02304276.




Circulation: 28 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print
Kwiecinski J, Tzolos E, Cartlidge TRG, Fletcher A, ... Berman DS, Dweck MR
Circulation: 28 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34455857
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Abstract

Health Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Achieving the National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative Voluntary Sugar Reduction Targets in the United States: A Micro-Simulation Study.

Shangguan S, Mozaffarian D, Sy S, Lee Y, ... Gaziano TA, Micha R
Background: High intake of added sugar is linked to weight gain and cardiometabolic risk. In 2018, the US National Salt and Sugar Reduction Initiative (NSSRI) proposed government supported voluntary national sugar reduction targets. This intervention\'s potential health and equity impacts, and cost-effectiveness are unclear.
Methods:
A validated microsimulation model, CVD-PREDICT, coded in C++, was used to estimate incremental changes in type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease (CVD), quality-adjusted life-years (QALYs), costs and cost-effectiveness of the NSSRI policy. The model was run at the individual-level, incorporating the annual probability of each person\'s transition between health status based on their risk factors. The model incorporated national demographic and dietary data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey across 3 cycles (2011-2016), added sugar-related diseases from meta-analyses, and policy costs and health-related costs from established sources. A simulated nationally representative US population was created and followed until age 100 years or death, with 2019 as the year of intervention start. Findings were evaluated over 10 years and a lifetime from healthcare and societal perspectives. Uncertainty was evaluated in a one-way analysis by assuming 50% industry compliance, and probabilistic sensitivity analyses via a second-order Monte Carlo approach. Model outputs included averted diabetes cases, CVD events and CVD deaths, QALYs gained, and formal healthcare cost savings, stratified by age, race, income and education.
Results:
Achieving the NSSRI sugar reduction targets could prevent 2.48 million CVD events, 0.49 million CVD deaths, and 0.75 million diabetes cases; gain 6.67 million QALYs; and save $160.88 billion net costs from a societal perspective over a lifetime. The policy became cost-effective (<150K/QALYs) at 6 years, highly cost-effective (< 50K/QALYs) at 7 years, and cost-saving at 9 years. Results were robust from a healthcare perspective, with lower (50%) industry compliance, and in probabilistic sensitivity analyses. The policy could also reduce disparities, with greatest estimated health gains per million adults among Black and Hispanic, lower income, and less educated Americans. Conclusions: Implementing and achieving the NSSRI sugar reformation targets could generate substantial health gains, equity gains and cost-savings.




Circulation: 26 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print
Shangguan S, Mozaffarian D, Sy S, Lee Y, ... Gaziano TA, Micha R
Circulation: 26 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34445886
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Abstract

Hemoglobin and Clinical Outcomes in the VerICiguaT Global Study in Patients With Heart Failure and Reduced Ejection Fraction (VICTORIA).

Ezekowitz JA, Zheng Y, Cohen-Solal A, Melenovský V, ... Armstrong PW, VICTORIA Study Group
Background: In the VICTORIA trial, anemia occurred more often in patients treated with vericiguat (7.6%) than placebo (5.7%). We explored the association between vericiguat, randomization hemoglobin, development of anemia and whether the benefit of vericiguat related to baseline hemoglobin.
Methods:
Anemia was defined as hemoglobin <13.0 g/dL in men and <12.0 g/dL in women (World Health Organization [WHO] Anemia). Adverse events (AEs) reported as anemia were also evaluated. We assessed the risk-adjusted relationship between hemoglobin and hematocrit with the primary outcome (composite of cardiovascular death or heart failure hospitalization), and the time-updated hemoglobin relationship to outcomes.
Results:
At baseline, 1719 (35.7%) had WHO anemia; median hemoglobin was 13.4 g/L (25th, 75th percentile: 12.1, 14.7 g/dL). At 16 weeks from randomization, 1643 patients had WHO anemia (284 new for vericiguat and 219 for placebo), which occurred more often with vericiguat than placebo (p<0.001). After 16 weeks, no further decline in hemoglobin occurred over 96 weeks of follow-up and the ratio of hemoglobin/hematocrit remained constant. Overall, AE anemia occurred in 342 patients (7.1%). A lower hemoglobin was unrelated to the treatment benefit of vericiguat (vs. placebo) on the primary outcome. Additionally, analysis of time-updated hemoglobin revealed no association with the treatment effect of vericiguat (vs. placebo) on the primary outcome. Conclusions: Anemia was common at randomization and lower hemoglobin was associated with a greater frequency of clinical events. Although vericiguat modestly lowered hemoglobin by 16 weeks, this effect did not further progress nor was it related to the treatment benefit of vericiguat. Clinical Trial Registration: Clinical Trials.gov (NCT02861534).




Circulation: 24 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print
Ezekowitz JA, Zheng Y, Cohen-Solal A, Melenovský V, ... Armstrong PW, VICTORIA Study Group
Circulation: 24 Aug 2021; epub ahead of print | PMID: 34432985
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Abstract

HINT1 (Histidine Triad Nucleotide-Binding Protein 1) Attenuates Cardiac Hypertrophy Via Suppressing HOXA5 (Homeobox A5) Expression.

Zhang Y, Da Q, Cao S, Yan K, ... Xie L, Ji Y
Background
Cardiac hypertrophy is an important prepathology of, and will ultimately lead to, heart failure. However, the mechanisms underlying pathological cardiac hypertrophy remain largely unknown. This study aims to elucidate the effects and mechanisms of HINT1 (histidine triad nucleotide-binding protein 1) in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.
Methods
HINT1 was downregulated in human hypertrophic heart samples compared with nonhypertrophic samples by mass spectrometry analysis. Hint1 knockout mice were challenged with transverse aortic constriction surgery. Cardiac-specific overexpression of HINT1 mice by intravenous injection of adeno-associated virus 9 (AAV9)-encoding Hint1 under the cTnT (cardiac troponin T) promoter were subjected to transverse aortic construction. Unbiased transcriptional analyses were used to identify the downstream targets of HINT1. AAV9 bearing shRNA against Hoxa5 (homeobox A5) was administrated to investigate whether the effects of HINT1 on cardiac hypertrophy were HOXA5-dependent. RNA sequencing analysis was performed to recapitulate possible changes in transcriptome profile.Coimmunoprecipitation assays and cellular fractionation analyses were conducted to examine the mechanism by which HINT1 regulates the expression of HOXA5.
Results
The reduction of HINT1 expression was observed in the hearts of hypertrophic patients and pressure overloaded-induced hypertrophic mice, respectively. In Hint1-deficient mice, cardiac hypertrophy deteriorated after transverse aortic construction. Conversely, cardiac-specific overexpression of HINT1 alleviated cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction. Unbiased profiler polymerase chain reaction array showed HOXA5 is 1 target for HINT1, and the cardioprotective role of HINT1 was abolished by HOXA5 knockdown in vivo. Hoxa5 was identified to affect hypertrophy through the TGF-β (transforming growth factor β) signal pathway. Mechanically, HINT1 inhibited PKCβ1 (protein kinase C β type 1) membrane translocation and phosphorylation via direct interaction, attenuating the MEK/ERK/YY1 (mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase/yin yang 1) signal pathway, downregulating HOXA5 expression, and eventually attenuating cardiac hypertrophy.
Conclusions
HINT1 protects against cardiac hypertrophy through suppressing HOXA5 expression. These findings indicate that HINT1 may be a potential target for therapeutic interventions in cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.



Circulation: 23 Aug 2021; 144:638-654
Zhang Y, Da Q, Cao S, Yan K, ... Xie L, Ji Y
Circulation: 23 Aug 2021; 144:638-654 | PMID: 34098726
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Abstract

Metabolic Syndrome Mediates ROS-miR-193b-NFYA-Dependent Downregulation of Soluble Guanylate Cyclase and Contributes to Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction.

Satoh T, Wang L, Espinosa-Diez C, Wang B, ... McTiernan CF, Gladwin MT
Background
Many patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction have metabolic syndrome and develop exercise-induced pulmonary hypertension (EIPH). Increases in pulmonary vascular resistance in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction portend a poor prognosis; this phenotype is referred to as combined precapillary and postcapillary pulmonary hypertension (CpcPH). Therapeutic trials for EIPH and CpcPH have been disappointing, suggesting the need for strategies that target upstream mechanisms of disease. This work reports novel rat EIPH models and mechanisms of pulmonary vascular dysfunction centered around the transcriptional repression of the soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) enzyme in pulmonary artery (PA) smooth muscle cells.
Methods
We used obese ZSF-1 leptin-receptor knockout rats (heart failure with preserved ejection fraction model), obese ZSF-1 rats treated with SU5416 to stimulate resting pulmonary hypertension (obese+sugen, CpcPH model), and lean ZSF-1 rats (controls). Right and left ventricular hemodynamics were evaluated using implanted catheters during treadmill exercise. PA function was evaluated with magnetic resonance imaging and myography. Overexpression of nuclear factor Y α subunit (NFYA), a transcriptional enhancer of sGC β1 subunit (sGCβ1), was performed by PA delivery of adeno-associated virus 6. Treatment groups received the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin in drinking water. PA smooth muscle cells from rats and humans were cultured with palmitic acid, glucose, and insulin to induce metabolic stress.
Results
Obese rats showed normal resting right ventricular systolic pressures, which significantly increased during exercise, modeling EIPH. Obese+sugen rats showed anatomic PA remodeling and developed elevated right ventricular systolic pressure at rest, which was exacerbated with exercise, modeling CpcPH. Myography and magnetic resonance imaging during dobutamine challenge revealed PA functional impairment of both obese groups. PAs of obese rats produced reactive oxygen species and decreased sGCβ1 expression. Mechanistically, cultured PA smooth muscle cells from obese rats and humans with diabetes or treated with palmitic acid, glucose, and insulin showed increased mitochondrial reactive oxygen species, which enhanced miR-193b-dependent RNA degradation of nuclear factor Y α subunit (NFYA), resulting in decreased sGCβ1-cGMP signaling. Forced NYFA expression by adeno-associated virus 6 delivery increased sGCβ1 levels and improved exercise pulmonary hypertension in obese+sugen rats. Treatment of obese+sugen rats with empagliflozin improved metabolic syndrome, reduced mitochondrial reactive oxygen species and miR-193b levels, restored NFYA/sGC activity, and prevented EIPH.
Conclusions
In heart failure with preserved ejection fraction and CpcPH models, metabolic syndrome contributes to pulmonary vascular dysfunction and EIPH through enhanced reactive oxygen species and miR-193b expression, which downregulates NFYA-dependent sGCβ1 expression. Adeno-associated virus-mediated NFYA overexpression and SGLT2 inhibition restore NFYA-sGCβ1-cGMP signaling and ameliorate EIPH.



Circulation: 23 Aug 2021; 144:615-637
Satoh T, Wang L, Espinosa-Diez C, Wang B, ... McTiernan CF, Gladwin MT
Circulation: 23 Aug 2021; 144:615-637 | PMID: 34157861
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Abstract

Derivation and Validation of a 10-Year Risk Score for Symptomatic Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm: Cohort Study of Nearly 500 000 Individuals.

Welsh P, Welsh CE, Jhund PS, Woodward M, ... Forbes J, Sattar N
Background
Abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) can occur in patients who are ineligible for routine ultrasound screening. A simple AAA risk score was derived and compared with current guidelines used for ultrasound screening of AAA.
Methods
United Kingdom Biobank participants without previous AAA were split into a derivation cohort (n=401 820, 54.6% women, mean age 56.4 years, 95.5% White race) and validation cohort (n=83 816). Incident AAA was defined as first hospital inpatient diagnosis of AAA, death from AAA, or an AAA-related surgical procedure. A multivariable Cox model was developed in the derivation cohort into an AAA risk score that did not require blood biomarkers. To illustrate the sensitivity and specificity of the risk score for AAA, a theoretical threshold to refer patients for ultrasound at 0.25% 10-year risk was modeled. Discrimination of the risk score was compared with a model of US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) AAA screening guidelines.
Results
In the derivation cohort, there were 1570 (0.40%) cases of AAA over a median 11.3 years of follow-up. Components of the AAA risk score were age (stratified by smoking status), weight (stratified by smoking status), antihypertensive and cholesterol-lowering medication use, height, diastolic blood pressure, baseline cardiovascular disease, and diabetes. In the validation cohort, over 10 years of follow-up, the C-index for the model of the USPSTF guidelines was 0.705 (95% CI, 0.678-0.733). The C-index of the risk score as a continuous variable was 0.856 (95% CI, 0.837-0.878). In the validation cohort, the USPSTF model yielded sensitivity 63.9% and specificity 71.3%. At the 0.25% 10-year risk threshold, the risk score yielded sensitivity 82.1% and specificity 70.7% while also improving the net reclassification index compared with the USPSTF model +0.176 (95% CI, 0.120-0.232). A combined model, whereby risk scoring was combined with the USPSTF model, also improved prediction compared with USPSTF alone (net reclassification index +0.101 [95% CI, 0.055-0.147]).
Conclusions
In an asymptomatic general population, a risk score based on patient age, height, weight, and medical history may improve identification of asymptomatic patients at risk for clinical events from AAA. Further development and validation of risk scores to detect asymptomatic AAA are needed.



Circulation: 23 Aug 2021; 144:604-614
Welsh P, Welsh CE, Jhund PS, Woodward M, ... Forbes J, Sattar N
Circulation: 23 Aug 2021; 144:604-614 | PMID: 34167317
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Abstract

Toward Replacing Late Gadolinium Enhancement With Artificial Intelligence Virtual Native Enhancement for Gadolinium-Free Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance Tissue Characterization in Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

Zhang Q, Burrage MK, Lukaschuk E, Shanmuganathan M, ... Ferreira VM, Piechnik SK
Background
Late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging is the gold standard for noninvasive myocardial tissue characterization but requires intravenous contrast agent administration. It is highly desired to develop a contrast agent-free technology to replace LGE for faster and cheaper CMR scans.
Methods
A CMR virtual native enhancement (VNE) imaging technology was developed using artificial intelligence. The deep learning model for generating VNE uses multiple streams of convolutional neural networks to exploit and enhance the existing signals in native T1 maps (pixel-wise maps of tissue T1 relaxation times) and cine imaging of cardiac structure and function, presenting them as LGE-equivalent images. The VNE generator was trained using generative adversarial networks. This technology was first developed on CMR datasets from the multicenter Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Registry, using hypertrophic cardiomyopathy as an exemplar. The datasets were randomized into 2 independent groups for deep learning training and testing. The test data of VNE and LGE were scored and contoured by experienced human operators to assess image quality, visuospatial agreement, and myocardial lesion burden quantification. Image quality was compared using a nonparametric Wilcoxon test. Intra- and interobserver agreement was analyzed using intraclass correlation coefficients (ICC). Lesion quantification by VNE and LGE were compared using linear regression and ICC.
Results
A total of 1348 hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patients provided 4093 triplets of matched T1 maps, cines, and LGE datasets. After randomization and data quality control, 2695 datasets were used for VNE method development and 345 were used for independent testing. VNE had significantly better image quality than LGE, as assessed by 4 operators (n=345 datasets; P<0.001 [Wilcoxon test]). VNE revealed lesions characteristic of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in high visuospatial agreement with LGE. In 121 patients (n=326 datasets), VNE correlated with LGE in detecting and quantifying both hyperintensity myocardial lesions (r=0.77-0.79; ICC=0.77-0.87; P<0.001) and intermediate-intensity lesions (r=0.70-0.76; ICC=0.82-0.85; P<0.001). The native CMR images (cine plus T1 map) required for VNE can be acquired within 15 minutes and producing a VNE image takes less than 1 second.
Conclusions
VNE is a new CMR technology that resembles conventional LGE but without the need for contrast administration. VNE achieved high agreement with LGE in the distribution and quantification of lesions, with significantly better image quality.



Circulation: 23 Aug 2021; 144:589-599
Zhang Q, Burrage MK, Lukaschuk E, Shanmuganathan M, ... Ferreira VM, Piechnik SK
Circulation: 23 Aug 2021; 144:589-599 | PMID: 34229451
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Abstract

Nanoparticle Delivery of STAT3 Alleviates Pulmonary Hypertension in a Mouse Model of Alveolar Capillary Dysplasia.

Sun F, Wang G, Pradhan A, Xu K, ... Molkentin JD, Kalinichenko VV
Background
Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a common complication in patients with alveolar capillary dysplasia with misalignment of pulmonary veins (ACDMPV), a severe congenital disorder associated with mutations in the FOXF1 gene. Although the loss of alveolar microvasculature causes PH in patients with ACDMPV, it is unknown whether increasing neonatal lung angiogenesis could prevent PH and right ventricular (RV) hypertrophy.
Methods
We used echocardiography, RV catheterization, immunostaining, and biochemical methods to examine lung and heart remodeling and RV output in Foxf1WT/S52F mice carrying the S52F Foxf1 mutation (identified in patients with ACDMPV). The ability of Foxf1WT/S52F mutant embryonic stem cells to differentiate into respiratory cell lineages in vivo was examined using blastocyst complementation. Intravascular delivery of nanoparticles with a nonintegrating Stat3 expression vector was used to improve neonatal pulmonary angiogenesis in Foxf1WT/S52F mice and determine its effects on PH and RV hypertrophy.
Results
Foxf1WT/S52F mice developed PH and RV hypertrophy after birth. The severity of PH in Foxf1WT/S52F mice directly correlated with mortality, low body weight, pulmonary artery muscularization, and increased collagen deposition in the lung tissue. Increased fibrotic remodeling was found in human ACDMPV lungs. Mouse embryonic stem cells carrying the S52F Foxf1 mutation were used to produce chimeras through blastocyst complementation and to demonstrate that Foxf1WT/S52F embryonic stem cells have a propensity to differentiate into pulmonary myofibroblasts. Intravascular delivery of nanoparticles carrying Stat3 cDNA protected Foxf1WT/S52F mice from RV hypertrophy and PH, improved survival, and decreased fibrotic lung remodeling.
Conclusions
Nanoparticle therapies increasing neonatal pulmonary angiogenesis may be considered to prevent PH in ACDMPV.



Circulation: 16 Aug 2021; 144:539-555
Sun F, Wang G, Pradhan A, Xu K, ... Molkentin JD, Kalinichenko VV
Circulation: 16 Aug 2021; 144:539-555 | PMID: 34111939
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Abstract

Dysregulated Phenylalanine Catabolism Plays a Key Role in the Trajectory of Cardiac Aging.

Czibik G, Mezdari Z, Murat Altintas D, Bréhat J, ... Sawaki D, Derumeaux G
Background
Aging myocardium undergoes progressive cardiac hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis with diastolic and systolic dysfunction. Recent metabolomics studies shed light on amino acids in aging. The present study aimed to dissect how aging leads to elevated plasma levels of the essential amino acid phenylalanine and how it may promote age-related cardiac dysfunction.
Methods
We studied cardiac structure and function, together with phenylalanine catabolism in wild-type (WT) and p21-/- mice (male; 2-24 months), with the latter known to be protected from cellular senescence. To explore phenylalanine\'s effects on cellular senescence and ectopic phenylalanine catabolism, we treated cardiomyocytes (primary adult rat or human AC-16) with phenylalanine. To establish a role for phenylalanine in driving cardiac aging, WT male mice were treated twice a day with phenylalanine (200 mg/kg) for a month. We also treated aged WT mice with tetrahydrobiopterin (10 mg/kg), the essential cofactor for the phenylalanine-degrading enzyme PAH (phenylalanine hydroxylase), or restricted dietary phenylalanine intake. The impact of senescence on hepatic phenylalanine catabolism was explored in vitro in AML12 hepatocytes treated with Nutlin3a (a p53 activator), with or without p21-targeting small interfering RNA or tetrahydrobiopterin, with quantification of PAH and tyrosine levels.
Results
Natural aging is associated with a progressive increase in plasma phenylalanine levels concomitant with cardiac dysfunction, whereas p21 deletion delayed these changes. Phenylalanine treatment induced premature cardiac deterioration in young WT mice, strikingly akin to that occurring with aging, while triggering cellular senescence, redox, and epigenetic changes. Pharmacological restoration of phenylalanine catabolism with tetrahydrobiopterin administration or dietary phenylalanine restriction abrogated the rise in plasma phenylalanine and reversed cardiac senescent alterations in aged WT mice. Observations from aged mice and human samples implicated age-related decline in hepatic phenylalanine catabolism as a key driver of elevated plasma phenylalanine levels and showed increased myocardial PAH-mediated phenylalanine catabolism, a novel signature of cardiac aging.
Conclusions
Our findings establish a pathogenic role for increased phenylalanine levels in cardiac aging, linking plasma phenylalanine levels to cardiac senescence via dysregulated phenylalanine catabolism along a hepatic-cardiac axis. They highlight phenylalanine/PAH modulation as a potential therapeutic strategy for age-associated cardiac impairment.



Circulation: 16 Aug 2021; 144:559-574
Czibik G, Mezdari Z, Murat Altintas D, Bréhat J, ... Sawaki D, Derumeaux G
Circulation: 16 Aug 2021; 144:559-574 | PMID: 34162223
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Abstract

Cardiac Troponin Thresholds and Kinetics to Differentiate Myocardial Injury and Myocardial Infarction.

Wereski R, Kimenai DM, Taggart C, Doudesis D, ... Chapman AR, Mills NL
Background
Although the 99th percentile is the recommended diagnostic threshold for myocardial infarction, some guidelines also advocate the use of higher troponin thresholds to rule in myocardial infarction at presentation. It is unclear whether the magnitude or change in troponin concentration can differentiate causes of myocardial injury and infarction in practice.
Methods
In a secondary analysis of a multicenter randomized controlled trial, we identified 46 092 consecutive patients presenting with suspected acute coronary syndrome without ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction. High-sensitivity cardiac troponin I concentrations at presentation and on serial testing were compared between patients with myocardial injury and infarction. The positive predictive value and specificity were determined at the sex-specific 99th percentile upper reference limit and rule-in thresholds of 64 ng/L and 5-fold of the upper reference limit for a diagnosis of type 1 myocardial infarction.
Results
Troponin was above the 99th percentile in 8188 patients (18%). The diagnosis was type 1 or type 2 myocardial infarction in 50% and 14% and acute or chronic myocardial injury in 20% and 16%, respectively. Troponin concentrations were similar at presentation in type 1 (median [25th-75th percentile] 91 [30-493] ng/L) and type 2 (50 [22-147] ng/L) myocardial infarction and in acute (50 [26-134] ng/L) and chronic (51 [31-130] ng/L) myocardial injury. The 99th percentile and rule-in thresholds of 64 ng/L and 5-fold upper reference limit gave a positive predictive value of 57% (95% CI, 56%-58%), 59% (58%-61%), and 62% (60%-64%) and a specificity of 96% (96%-96%), 96% (96%-96%), and 98% (97%-98%), respectively. The absolute, relative, and rate of change in troponin concentration were highest in patients with type 1 myocardial infarction (P<0.001 for all). Discrimination improved when troponin concentration and change in troponin were combined compared with troponin concentration at presentation alone (area under the curve, 0.661 [0.642-0.680] versus 0.613 [0.594-0.633]).
Conclusions
Although we observed important differences in the kinetics, cardiac troponin concentrations at presentation are insufficient to distinguish type 1 myocardial infarction from other causes of myocardial injury or infarction in practice and should not guide management decisions in isolation. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT01852123.



Circulation: 16 Aug 2021; 144:528-538
Wereski R, Kimenai DM, Taggart C, Doudesis D, ... Chapman AR, Mills NL
Circulation: 16 Aug 2021; 144:528-538 | PMID: 34167318
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Abstract

International Observational Analysis of Evolution and Outcomes of Chronic Stable Angina: The Multinational CLARIFY Study.

Mesnier J, Ducrocq G, Danchin N, Ferrari R, ... Steg PG, CLARIFY Investigators
Background
Although angina is common in patients with stable coronary artery disease, limited data are available on its prevalence, natural evolution, and outcomes in the era of effective cardiovascular drugs and widespread use of coronary revascularization.
Methods
Using data from 32 691 patients with stable coronary artery disease from the prospective observational CLARIFY registry (Prospective Observational Longitudinal Registry of Patients with Stable Coronary Artery Disease), anginal status was mapped each year in patients without new coronary revascularization or new myocardial infarction. The use of medical interventions in the year preceding angina resolution was explored. The effect of 1-year changes in angina status on 5-year outcomes was analyzed using multivariable analysis.
Results
Among 7212 (22.1%) patients who reported angina at baseline, angina disappeared (without coronary revascularization) in 39.6% at 1 year, with further annual decreases. In patients without angina at baseline, 2.0% to 4.8% developed angina each year. During 5-year follow-up, angina was controlled in 7773 patients, in whom resolution of angina was obtained with increased use of antianginal treatment in 11.1%, with coronary revascularization in 4.5%, and without any changes in medication or revascularization in 84.4%. Compared to patients without angina at baseline and 1 year, persistence of angina and occurrence of angina at 1 year with conservative management were each independently associated with higher rates of cardiovascular death or myocardial infarction (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.32 [95% CI, 1.12-1.55] for persistence of angina; adjusted hazard ratio, 1.37 [95% CI, 1.11-1.70] for occurrence of angina) at 5 years. Patients whose angina had resolved at 1 year with conservative management were not at higher risk of cardiovascular death or myocardial infarction than those who never experienced angina (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.97 [95% CI, 0.82-1.15]).
Conclusions
Angina affects almost one-quarter of patients with stable coronary artery disease but resolves without events or coronary revascularization in most patients. Resolution of angina within 1 year with conservative management predicted outcomes similar to lack of angina, whereas persistence or occurrence was associated with worse outcomes. Because most patients with angina are likely to experience resolution of symptoms, and because there is no demonstrated outcome benefit to routine revascularization, this study emphasizes the value of conservative management of stable coronary artery disease. Registration: URL: https://www.isrctn.com; Unique identifier: ISRCTN43070564.



Circulation: 16 Aug 2021; 144:512-523
Mesnier J, Ducrocq G, Danchin N, Ferrari R, ... Steg PG, CLARIFY Investigators
Circulation: 16 Aug 2021; 144:512-523 | PMID: 34261331
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Abstract

Arrhythmia Mechanism and Dynamics in a Humanized Mouse Model of Inherited Cardiomyopathy Caused by Phospholamban R14del Mutation.

Raad N, Bittihn P, Cacheux M, Jeong D, ... Stillitano F, Akar FG
Background
Arginine (Arg) 14 deletion (R14del) in the calcium regulatory protein phospholamban (hPLNR14del) has been identified as a disease-causing mutation in patients with an inherited cardiomyopathy. Mechanisms underlying the early arrhythmogenic phenotype that predisposes carriers of this mutation to sudden death with no apparent structural remodeling remain unclear.
Methods
To address this, we performed high spatiotemporal resolution optical mapping of intact hearts from adult knock-in mice harboring the human PLNWT (wildtype [WT], n=12) or the heterozygous human PLNR14del mutation (R14del, n=12) before and after ex vivo challenge with isoproterenol and rapid pacing.
Results
Adverse electrophysiological remodeling was evident in the absence of significant structural or hemodynamic changes. R14del hearts exhibited increased arrhythmia susceptibility compared with wildtype. Underlying this susceptibility was preferential right ventricular action potential prolongation that was unresponsive to β-adrenergic stimulation. A steep repolarization gradient at the left ventricular/right ventricular interface provided the substrate for interventricular activation delays and ultimately local conduction block during rapid pacing. This was followed by the initiation of macroreentrant circuits supporting the onset of ventricular tachycardia. Once sustained, these circuits evolved into high-frequency rotors, which in their majority were pinned to the right ventricle. These rotors exhibited unique spatiotemporal dynamics that promoted their increased stability in R14del compared with wildtype hearts.
Conclusions
Our findings highlight the crucial role of primary electric remodeling caused by the hPLNR14del mutation. These inherently arrhythmogenic features form the substrate for adrenergic-mediated VT at early stages of PLNR14del induced cardiomyopathy.



Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:441-454
Raad N, Bittihn P, Cacheux M, Jeong D, ... Stillitano F, Akar FG
Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:441-454 | PMID: 34024116
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Abstract

Relationship Between Residual Mitral Regurgitation and Clinical and Quality-of-Life Outcomes After Transcatheter and Medical Treatments in Heart Failure: COAPT Trial.

Kar S, Mack MJ, Lindenfeld J, Abraham WT, ... Grayburn PA, Stone GW
Background
In the randomized COAPT trial (Cardiovascular Outcomes Assessment of the MitraClip Percutaneous Therapy for Heart Failure Patients With Functional Mitral Regurgitation), among 614 patients with heart failure with 3+ or 4+ secondary mitral regurgitation (MR), transcatheter mitral valve repair (TMVr) with the MitraClip reduced MR, heart failure hospitalizations, and mortality and improved quality of life compared with guideline-directed medical therapy (GDMT) alone. We aimed to examine the prognostic relationship between MR reduction and outcomes after TMVr and GDMT alone.
Methods
Outcomes in COAPT between 30 days and 2 years were examined on the basis of the severity of residual MR at 30 days.
Results
TMVr-treated patients had less severe residual MR at 30 days than GDMT-treated patients (0/1+, 2+, and 3+/4+: 72.9%, 19.9%, and 7.2% versus 8.2%, 26.1%, and 65.8%, respectively [P<0.0001]). The rate of composite death or heart failure hospitalizations between 30 days and 2 years was lower in patients with 30-day residual MR of 0/1+ and 2+ compared with patients with 30-day residual MR of 3+/4+ (37.7% versus 49.5% versus 72.2%, respectively [P<0.0001]). This relationship was consistent in the TMVr and GDMT arms (Pinteraction=0.92). The improvement in Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire score from baseline to 30 days was maintained between 30 days and 2 years in patients with 30-day MR ≤2+ but deteriorated in those with 30-day MR 3+/4+ (-0.3±1.7 versus -9.4±4.6 [P=0.0008]) consistently in both groups (Pinteraction=0.95).
Conclusions
In the COAPT trial, reduced MR at 30 days was associated with greater freedom from death or heart failure hospitalizations and improved quality of life through 2-year follow-up whether the MR reduction was achieved by TMVr or GDMT. Registration: URL: https://www.clinicaltrials.gov; Unique identifier: NCT01626079.



Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:426-437
Kar S, Mack MJ, Lindenfeld J, Abraham WT, ... Grayburn PA, Stone GW
Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:426-437 | PMID: 34039025
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Abstract

TET2 Protects Against Vascular Smooth Muscle Cell Apoptosis and Intimal Thickening in Transplant Vasculopathy.

Ostriker AC, Xie Y, Chakraborty R, Sizer AJ, ... Hwa J, Martin KA
Background
Coronary allograft vasculopathy (CAV) is a devastating sequela of heart transplant in which arterial intimal thickening limits coronary blood flow. There are currently no targeted therapies to prevent or reduce this pathology that leads to transplant failure. Vascular smooth muscle cell (VSMC) phenotypic plasticity is critical in CAV neointima formation. TET2 (TET methylcytosine dioxygenase 2) is an important epigenetic regulator of VSMC phenotype, but the role of TET2 in the progression of CAV is unknown.
Methods
We assessed TET2 expression and activity in human CAV and renal transplant samples. We also used the sex-mismatched murine aortic graft model of graft arteriopathy (GA) in wild-type and inducible smooth muscle-specific Tet2 knockout mice; and in vitro studies in murine and human VSMCs using knockdown, overexpression, and transcriptomic approaches to assess the role of TET2 in VSMC responses to IFNγ (interferon γ), a cytokine elaborated by T cells that drives CAV progression.
Results
In the present study, we found that TET2 expression and activity are negatively regulated in human CAV and renal transplant samples and in the murine aortic graft model of GA. IFNγ was sufficient to repress TET2 and induce an activated VSMC phenotype in vitro. TET2 depletion mimicked the effects of IFNγ, and TET2 overexpression rescued IFNγ-induced dedifferentiation. VSMC-specific TET2 depletion in aortic grafts, and in the femoral wire restenosis model, resulted in increased VSMC apoptosis and medial thinning. In GA, this apoptosis was tightly correlated with proliferation. In vitro, TET2-deficient VSMCs undergo apoptosis more readily in response to IFNγ and expressed a signature of increased susceptibility to extrinsic apoptotic signaling. Enhancing TET2 enzymatic activity with high-dose ascorbic acid rescued the effect of GA-induced VSMC apoptosis and intimal thickening in a TET2-dependent manner.
Conclusions
TET2 is repressed in CAV and GA, likely mediated by IFNγ. TET2 serves to protect VSMCs from apoptosis in the context of transplant vasculopathy or IFNγ stimulation. Promoting TET2 activity in vivo with systemic ascorbic acid reduces VSMC apoptosis and intimal thickening. These data suggest that promoting TET2 activity in CAV may be an effective strategy for limiting CAV progression.



Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:455-470
Ostriker AC, Xie Y, Chakraborty R, Sizer AJ, ... Hwa J, Martin KA
Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:455-470 | PMID: 34111946
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Abstract

Diagnosis and Management of Myocarditis in Children: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.

Law YM, Lal AK, Chen S, Čiháková D, ... Towbin JA, American Heart Association Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplantation Committee of the Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young and Stroke Council
Myocarditis remains a clinical challenge in pediatrics. Originally, it was recognized at autopsy before the application of endomyocardial biopsy, which led to a histopathology-based diagnosis such as in the Dallas criteria. Given the invasive and low-sensitivity nature of endomyocardial biopsy, its diagnostic focus shifted to a reliance on clinical suspicion. With the advances of cardiac magnetic resonance, an examination of the whole heart in vivo has gained acceptance in the pursuit of a diagnosis of myocarditis. The presentation may vary from minimal symptoms to heart failure, life-threatening arrhythmias, or cardiogenic shock. Outcomes span full resolution to chronic heart failure and the need for heart transplantation with inadequate clues to predict the disease trajectory. The American Heart Association commissioned this writing group to explore the current knowledge and management within the field of pediatric myocarditis. This statement highlights advances in our understanding of the immunopathogenesis, new and shifting dominant pathogeneses, modern laboratory testing, and use of mechanical circulatory support, with a special emphasis on innovations in cardiac magnetic resonance imaging. Despite these strides forward, we struggle without a universally accepted definition of myocarditis, which impedes progress in disease-targeted therapy.



Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:e123-e135
Law YM, Lal AK, Chen S, Čiháková D, ... Towbin JA, American Heart Association Pediatric Heart Failure and Transplantation Committee of the Council on Lifelong Congenital Heart Disease and Heart Health in the Young and Stroke Council
Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:e123-e135 | PMID: 34229446
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Abstract

Assessing and Addressing Cardiovascular Health in People Who Are Transgender and Gender Diverse: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association.

Streed CG, Beach LB, Caceres BA, Dowshen NL, ... American Heart Association Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention; Council on Hypertension; and Stroke Council
There is growing evidence that people who are transgender and gender diverse (TGD) are impacted by disparities across a variety of cardiovascular risk factors compared with their peers who are cisgender. Prior literature has characterized disparities in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality as a result of a higher prevalence of health risk behaviors. Mounting research has revealed that cardiovascular risk factors at the individual level likely do not fully account for increased risk in cardiovascular health disparities among people who are TGD. Excess cardiovascular morbidity and mortality is hypothesized to be driven in part by psychosocial stressors across the lifespan at multiple levels, including structural violence (eg, discrimination, affordable housing, access to health care). This American Heart Association scientific statement reviews the existing literature on the cardiovascular health of people who are TGD. When applicable, the effects of gender-affirming hormone use on individual cardiovascular risk factors are also reviewed. Informed by a conceptual model building on minority stress theory, this statement identifies research gaps and provides suggestions for improving cardiovascular research and clinical care for people who are TGD, including the role of resilience-promoting factors. Advancing the cardiovascular health of people who are TGD requires a multifaceted approach that integrates best practices into research, health promotion, and cardiovascular care for this understudied population.



Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:e136-e148
Streed CG, Beach LB, Caceres BA, Dowshen NL, ... American Heart Association Council on Peripheral Vascular Disease; Council on Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology; Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing; Council on Cardiovascular Radiology and Intervention; Council on Hypertension; and Stroke Council
Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:e136-e148 | PMID: 34235936
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Abstract

Quantifying and Understanding the Higher Risk of Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease Among South Asian Individuals: Results From the UK Biobank Prospective Cohort Study.

Patel AP, Wang M, Kartoun U, Ng K, Khera AV
Background
Individuals of South Asian ancestry represent 23% of the global population, corresponding to 1.8 billion people, and have substantially higher risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease compared with most other ethnicities. US practice guidelines now recognize South Asian ancestry as an important risk-enhancing factor. The magnitude of enhanced risk within the context of contemporary clinical care, the extent to which it is captured by existing risk estimators, and its potential mechanisms warrant additional study.
Methods
Within the UK Biobank prospective cohort study, 8124 middle-aged participants of South Asian ancestry and 449 349 participants of European ancestry who were free of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease at the time of enrollment were examined. The relationship of ancestry to risk of incident atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease-defined as myocardial infarction, coronary revascularization, or ischemic stroke-was assessed with Cox proportional hazards regression, along with examination of a broad range of clinical, anthropometric, and lifestyle mediators.
Results
The mean age at study enrollment was 57 years, and 202 405 (44%) were male. Over a median follow-up of 11 years, 554 of 8124 (6.8%) individuals of South Asian ancestry experienced an atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease event compared with 19 756 of 449 349 (4.4%) individuals of European ancestry, corresponding to an adjusted hazard ratio of 2.03 (95% CI, 1.86-2.22; P<0.001). This higher relative risk was largely consistent across a range of age, sex, and clinical subgroups. Despite the >2-fold higher observed risk, the predicted 10-year risk of cardiovascular disease according to the American Heart Association/American College of Cardiology Pooled Cohort equations and QRISK3 equations was nearly identical for individuals of South Asian and European ancestry. Adjustment for a broad range of clinical, anthropometric, and lifestyle risk factors led to only modest attenuation of the observed hazard ratio to 1.45 (95% CI, 1.28-1.65, P<0.001). Assessment of variance explained by 18 candidate risk factors suggested greater importance of hypertension, diabetes, and central adiposity in South Asian individuals.
Conclusions
Within a large prospective study, South Asian individuals had substantially higher risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease compared with individuals of European ancestry, and this risk was not captured by the Pooled Cohort Equations.



Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:410-422
Patel AP, Wang M, Kartoun U, Ng K, Khera AV
Circulation: 09 Aug 2021; 144:410-422 | PMID: 34247495
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Abstract

In Vivo Function of Flow-Responsive Cis-DNA Elements of eNOS Gene: A Role for Chromatin-Based Mechanisms.

Ku KH, Dubinsky MK, Sukumar AN, Subramaniam N, ... Knight BJ, Marsden PA
Background
eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase) is an endothelial cell (EC)-specific gene predominantly expressed in medium- to large-sized arteries where ECs experience atheroprotective laminar flow with high shear stress. Disturbed flow with lower average shear stress decreases eNOS transcription, which leads to the development of atherosclerosis, especially at bifurcations and curvatures of arteries. This prototypic arterial EC gene contains 2 distinct flow-responsive cis-DNA elements in the promoter, the shear stress response element (SSRE) and the KLF (Krüppel-like factor) element. Previous in vitro studies suggested their positive regulatory functions on flow-induced transcription of EC genes including eNOS. However, the in vivo function of these cis-DNA elements remains unknown.
Methods
Insertional transgenic mice with a mutation at each flow-responsive cis-DNA element were generated using a murine eNOS promoter-β-galactosidase reporter by linker-scanning mutagenesis and compared with episomal-based mutations in vitro. DNA methylation at the eNOS proximal promoter in mouse ECs was assessed by bisulfite sequencing or pyrosequencing.
Results
Wild type mice with a functional eNOS promoter-reporter transgene exhibited reduced endothelial reporter expression in the atheroprone regions of disturbed flow (n=5). It is surprising that the SSRE mutation abrogated reporter expression in ECs and was associated with aberrant hypermethylation at the eNOS proximal promoter (n=7). Reporter gene silencing was independent of transgene copy number and integration position, indicating that the SSRE is a critical cis-element necessary for eNOS transcription in vivo. The KLF mutation demonstrated an integration site-specific decrease in eNOS transcription, again with marked promoter methylation (n=8), suggesting that the SSRE alone is not sufficient for eNOS transcription in vivo. In wild type mice, the native eNOS promoter was significantly hypermethylated in ECs from the atheroprone regions where eNOS expression was markedly repressed by chronic disturbed flow, demonstrating that eNOS expression is regulated by flow-dependent DNA methylation that is region-specific in the arterial endothelium in vivo.
Conclusions
We report, for the first time, that the SSRE and KLF elements are critical flow sensors necessary for a transcriptionally permissive, hypomethylated eNOS promoter in ECs under chronic shear stress in vivo. Moreover, eNOS expression is regulated by flow-dependent epigenetic mechanisms, which offers novel mechanistic insight on eNOS gene regulation in atherogenesis.



Circulation: 02 Aug 2021; 144:365-381
Ku KH, Dubinsky MK, Sukumar AN, Subramaniam N, ... Knight BJ, Marsden PA
Circulation: 02 Aug 2021; 144:365-381 | PMID: 33910388
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Abstract

Unfolded Protein Response as a Compensatory Mechanism and Potential Therapeutic Target in PLN R14del Cardiomyopathy.

Feyen DAM, Perea-Gil I, Maas RGC, Harakalova M, ... Mercola M, Karakikes I
Background
Phospholamban (PLN) is a critical regulator of calcium cycling and contractility in the heart. The loss of arginine at position 14 in PLN (R14del) is associated with dilated cardiomyopathy with a high prevalence of ventricular arrhythmias. How the R14 deletion causes dilated cardiomyopathy is poorly understood, and there are no disease-specific therapies.
Methods
We used single-cell RNA sequencing to uncover PLN R14del disease mechanisms in human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC-CMs). We used both 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional functional contractility assays to evaluate the impact of modulating disease-relevant pathways in PLN R14del hiPSC-CMs.
Results
Modeling of the PLN R14del cardiomyopathy with isogenic pairs of hiPSC-CMs recapitulated the contractile deficit associated with the disease in vitro. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed the induction of the unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway in PLN R14del compared with isogenic control hiPSC-CMs. The activation of UPR was also evident in the hearts from PLN R14del patients. Silencing of each of the 3 main UPR signaling branches (IRE1, ATF6, or PERK) by siRNA exacerbated the contractile dysfunction of PLN R14del hiPSC-CMs. We explored the therapeutic potential of activating the UPR with a small molecule activator, BiP (binding immunoglobulin protein) inducer X. PLN R14del hiPSC-CMs treated with BiP protein inducer X showed a dose-dependent amelioration of the contractility deficit in both 2-dimensional cultures and 3-dimensional engineered heart tissues without affecting calcium homeostasis.
Conclusions
Together, these findings suggest that the UPR exerts a protective effect in the setting of PLN R14del cardiomyopathy and that modulation of the UPR might be exploited therapeutically.



Circulation: 02 Aug 2021; 144:382-392
Feyen DAM, Perea-Gil I, Maas RGC, Harakalova M, ... Mercola M, Karakikes I
Circulation: 02 Aug 2021; 144:382-392 | PMID: 33928785
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Abstract

Prioritizing the Role of Major Lipoproteins and Subfractions as Risk Factors for Peripheral Artery Disease.

Levin MG, Zuber V, Walker VM, Klarin D, ... Burgess S, Damrauer SM
Background
Lipoprotein-related traits have been consistently identified as risk factors for atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, largely on the basis of studies of coronary artery disease (CAD). The relative contributions of specific lipoproteins to the risk of peripheral artery disease (PAD) have not been well defined. We leveraged large-scale genetic association data to investigate the effects of circulating lipoprotein-related traits on PAD risk.
Methods
Genome-wide association study summary statistics for circulating lipoprotein-related traits were used in the mendelian randomization bayesian model averaging framework to prioritize the most likely causal major lipoprotein and subfraction risk factors for PAD and CAD. Mendelian randomization was used to estimate the effect of apolipoprotein B (ApoB) lowering on PAD risk using gene regions proxying lipid-lowering drug targets. Genes relevant to prioritized lipoprotein subfractions were identified with transcriptome-wide association studies.
Results
ApoB was identified as the most likely causal lipoprotein-related risk factor for both PAD (marginal inclusion probability, 0.86; P=0.003) and CAD (marginal inclusion probability, 0.92; P=0.005). Genetic proxies for ApoB-lowering medications were associated with reduced risk of both PAD (odds ratio,0.87 per 1-SD decrease in ApoB [95% CI, 0.84-0.91]; P=9×10-10) and CAD (odds ratio,0.66 [95% CI, 0.63-0.69]; P=4×10-73), with a stronger predicted effect of ApoB lowering on CAD (ratio of effects, 3.09 [95% CI, 2.29-4.60]; P<1×10-6). Extra-small very-low-density lipoprotein particle concentration was identified as the most likely subfraction associated with PAD risk (marginal inclusion probability, 0.91; P=2.3×10-4), whereas large low-density lipoprotein particle concentration was the most likely subfraction associated with CAD risk (marginal inclusion probability, 0.95; P=0.011). Genes associated with extra-small very-low-density lipoprotein particle and large low-density lipoprotein particle concentration included canonical ApoB pathway components, although gene-specific effects were variable. Lipoprotein(a) was associated with increased risk of PAD independently of ApoB (odds ratio, 1.04 [95% CI, 1.03-1.04]; P=1.0×10-33).
Conclusions
ApoB was prioritized as the major lipoprotein fraction causally responsible for both PAD and CAD risk. However, ApoB-lowering drug targets and ApoB-containing lipoprotein subfractions had diverse associations with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, and distinct subfraction-associated genes suggest possible differences in the role of lipoproteins in the pathogenesis of PAD and CAD.



Circulation: 02 Aug 2021; 144:353-364
Levin MG, Zuber V, Walker VM, Klarin D, ... Burgess S, Damrauer SM
Circulation: 02 Aug 2021; 144:353-364 | PMID: 34139859
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