Hamster Cardiomyopathy: New Insights in the Pathogenesis of this Hereditary Disease
Since 20 years ago, a new cardiomyopathic (CM) Syrian hamster colony, the UM-X7.1, has been established and raised under optimal environmental conditions (1). With a careful selection of breeders, it has been possible to preserve the original trait from the BIO 14.6 progenitors (2) and to arrive at a uniform and predictable expression of the disease. The average survival time of this new line is 250 days. Hence, it has been possible to carry out pathogenic studies in a reliable manner. Apart from a progressive blueing of the eyes due to venous congestion, the clinical pathological signs of this polymyopathy are very subtle. One may detect some impaired locomotor activity, becoming more evident with forced muscular exercise (3). Abnormal electrocardiogram patterns, as we will see in a moment, become significant after 150 days (4) when the heart tends to hypertrophy with concomitant dilatation of the right chambers and development of progressive changes of circulatory failure. Premature death may result from ventricular arrhythmia; otherwise, more than 50% of the remaining animals exhibit variable degree of cardiac failure. Signs of passive congestion are more obvious at autopsy when examining the lung or the liver. The hepatic tissue is often sclerotic with liquid effusion in the peritoneum and in the thoracic cavity, and ultimately one may observe a giant anasarca. By then, the entire myocardium becomes flabby due to dilatation of the heart cavities which often contain a mural thrombus (Fig. 1).
KeywordsMural Thrombus Optimal Environmental Condition Normal Hamster Passive Congestion Predictable Expression
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