The arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR), but not the AhR-nuclear translocator (ARNT), is increased in hearts of patients with cardiomyopathy
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The objective of this study was to investigate the expression of the arylhydrocarbon receptor (AhR) and its partner AhR-nuclear translocator (ARNT) in left ventricle specimens from explanted hearts from patients with cardiomyopathy (CMP). Explanted hearts from 16 patients with ischemic (n=9, age 63±12 years) and dilative (n=7, age 54±12 years) CMP, undergoing heart transplantation were examined. Healthy donor hearts from five accident victims served as controls. As these donors were of younger age (32±11 years), additionally, donor hearts from three older accident victims (age 48±15 years) without clinical symptoms but with signs of ventricular hyperthrophy (n=1) or atherosclerotic lesions (n=2) were included ("pathological controls"). Expression of AhR and ARNT was analyzed using semi-quantitative immunohistochemistry, and in selected samples, Western blot- and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction analysis were performed to confirm AhR and ARNT expression. Immunohistological analysis revealed weak to intermediate staining of anti-AhR in control, but weak to intense staining in CMP- and "pathologic control" specimens, indicating significantly increased AhR levels in the diseased heart. Moreover, in CMP specimens, the percentage of AhR-positive cells was strongly increased. Higher anti-AhR staining was also seen in two atherosclerotic "pathologic control" specimens. In all groups, the intensity of anti-ARNT staining was more pronounced than AhR staining, but significant differences or any age-related alterations were not observed. In conclusion, the increased cellular content of AhR in left ventricular specimens from CMP patients suggests a role for AhR in heart disease.
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