Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 450, Issue 4, pp 201–208 | Cite as

Functional profiling of human atrial and ventricular gene expression

  • Andreas S. Barth
  • Sylvia Merk
  • Elisabeth Arnoldi
  • Ludwig Zwermann
  • Patrick Kloos
  • Mathias Gebauer
  • Klaus Steinmeyer
  • Markus Bleich
  • Stefan Kääb
  • Arne Pfeufer
  • Peter Überfuhr
  • Martin Dugas
  • Gerhard Steinbeck
  • Michael Nabauer
Cardiovascular System


The purpose of our investigation was to identify the transcriptional basis for ultrastructural and functional specialization of human atria and ventricles. Using exploratory microarray analysis (Affymetrix U133A+B), we detected 11,740 transcripts expressed in human heart, representing the most comprehensive report of the human myocardial transcriptome to date. Variation in gene expression between atria and ventricles accounted for the largest differences in this data set, as 3.300 and 2.974 transcripts showed higher expression in atria and ventricles, respectively. Functional classification based on Gene Ontology identified chamber-specific patterns of gene expression and provided molecular insights into the regional specialization of cardiomyocytes, correlating important functional pathways to transcriptional activity: Ventricular myocytes preferentially express genes satisfying contractile and energetic requirements, while atrial myocytes exhibit specific transcriptional activities related to neurohumoral function. In addition, several pro-fibrotic and apoptotic pathways were concentrated in atrial myocardium, substantiating the higher susceptibility of atria to programmed cell death and extracellular matrix remodelling observed in human and experimental animal models of heart failure. Differences in transcriptional profiles of atrial and ventricular myocardium thus provide molecular insights into myocardial cell diversity and distinct region-specific adaptations to physiological and pathophysiological conditions. Moreover, as major functional classes of atrial- and ventricular-specific transcripts were common to human and murine myocardium, an evolutionarily conserved chamber-specific expression pattern in mammalian myocardium is suggested.


Functional genomics Myocardium Atrium Ventricle Signal transduction Contraction 



The authors thank Prof. B. Reichart and his colleagues for providing myocardial tissue specimens. Special thanks are due to H. Kartmann for excellent technical assistance with RT-PCR experiments. This study was supported partly by a grant of the Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF-grant 01GS0109; S.K., A.P., M.N., G.S.) supporting the German National Genome Research Network (NGFN) and a grant from the scientific editorial board of the Münchner Medizinische Wochenschrift (A.S.B.). Data was generated and analysed in the framework of a research collaboration with Aventis Pharma Deutschland GmbH.

Supplementary material

Fig. S1 A,B

424_2005_1404_ESM_fig1.pdf (173 kb)
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Fig S2

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Table S1

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Table S2

424_2005_1404_ESM_table2.pdf (178 kb)
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Table S3

424_2005_1404_ESM_table3.xls (2.2 mb)
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Table S4

424_2005_1404_ESM_table4.pdf (177 kb)
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Table S5

424_2005_1404_ESM_table5.xls (149 kb)
(Excel 149 KB)

Table S6

424_2005_1404_ESM_table6.xls (1.7 mb)
(Excel 1.7 MB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Andreas S. Barth
    • 1
  • Sylvia Merk
    • 2
  • Elisabeth Arnoldi
    • 1
  • Ludwig Zwermann
    • 1
  • Patrick Kloos
    • 1
  • Mathias Gebauer
    • 3
  • Klaus Steinmeyer
    • 3
  • Markus Bleich
    • 3
    • 4
  • Stefan Kääb
    • 1
  • Arne Pfeufer
    • 5
  • Peter Überfuhr
    • 6
  • Martin Dugas
    • 2
  • Gerhard Steinbeck
    • 1
  • Michael Nabauer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medicine I, University Hospital GrosshadernLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of Medical Informatics, Biometrics and Epidemiology (IBE)Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany
  3. 3.Aventis Pharma Deutschland GmbHGermany
  4. 4.Institute of PhysiologyChristian-Albrechts-UniversityKielGermany
  5. 5.Institute of Human GeneticsTechnical University Munich and GSFNeuherbergGermany
  6. 6.Department of Cardiac Surgery, University Hospital GrosshadernLudwig-Maximilians-UniversityMunichGermany

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