Cardiac inflammation contributes to right ventricular dysfunction following experimental pulmonary embolism in rats

John A. Watts, John Zagorski, Michael A. Gellar, Brad G. Stevinson, Jeffrey A. Kline

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

82 Scopus citations


Acute right ventricular (RV) failure following pulmonary embolism (PE) is a strong predictor of poor clinical outcome. Present studies test for an association between RV failure from experimental PE, inflammation, and upregulated chemokine expression. Additional experiments test if neutrophil influx contributes to RV dysfunction. PE was induced in male rats by infusing 24 μm microspheres (right jugular vein) producing mild hypertension (1.3 million beads/100 g, PE1.3), or moderately severe hypertension (2.0 million beads/100 g, PE2.0). Additional rats served as vehicle sham (0.01% Tween 20, Veh). In vivo RV peak systolic pressures (RVPSP) increased significantly, and then declined following PE2.0 (51 ± 1 mm Hg 2 h; 49 ± 1, 6 h; 44 ± 1, 18 h). RV generated pressure of isolated, perfused hearts was significantly reduced in PE2.0 compared with PE1.3 or Veh. MCP-1 protein (ELISA) was elevated 21-fold and myeloperoxidase activity 95-fold in RV of PE2.0 compared with Veh or PE1.3. CINC-1, CINC-2, MIP-2, MCP-1, and MIP-1α mRNA also increased in RV of PE2.0. Histological analysis revealed massive accumulation of neutrophils (selective esterase stain) and monocyte/macrophages (CD68, ED-1) in RV of PE2.0 hearts in regions of myocyte damage. Electron microscopy showed myocyte necrosis and phagocytosis by inflammatory cells. LV function was normal and did not show increased inflammation after PE2.0. Treatment with anti-PMN antibody reduced RV MPO activity and prevented RV dysfunction. Conclusions-PE with moderately severe pulmonary hypertension (PE2.0) resulted in selective RV dysfunction, which was associated with increased chemokine expression, and infiltration of both neutrophils and monocyte/macrophages, indicating that a robust immune response occurred with RV damage following experimental PE. Experimental agranulocytosis reduced RV, suggesting that neutrophil influx contributed to RV damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)296-307
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2006



  • Agranulocytosis
  • Chemokines
  • Cor pulmonale
  • Heart failure
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages
  • Monocytes
  • Neutropenia
  • Neutrophils
  • Pulmonary heart disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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