, Volume 76, Issue 11, pp 725-746

Cellular mechanisms of cardiac hypertrophy

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Hypertrophy of myocytes in the heart ventricles is an important adaptation that in vivo occurs in response to a requirement for increased contractile power. It involves changes at the level of gene transcription, stimulation of the rate of protein synthesis (translation), and increased assembly of myofibrils. There is mounting evidence of the involvement of reversible protein phosphorylation and dephosphorylation in most of these processes. Protein kinase C, mitogen-activated protein kinases, and transcription factors have been implicated in the modulation of the transcriptional changes. Activation of translation may also be mediated through protein phosphorylation/dephosphorylation, although this has not been clearly established in the heart. Here we provide a critical overview of the signalling pathways involved in the hypertrophic response and provide a scheme to account for many of its features.

Received: 16 February 1998 / Accepted: 6 July 1998