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Compensated right ventricular function of the onset of pulmonary hypertension in a rat model depends on chamber remodeling and contractile augmentation


Right-ventricular function is a good indicator of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) prognosis; however, how the right ventricle (RV) adapts to the pressure overload is not well understood. Here, we aimed at characterizing the time course of RV early remodeling and discriminate the contribution of ventricular geometric remodeling and intrinsic changes in myocardial mechanical properties in a monocrotaline (MCT) animal model. In a longitudinal study of PAH, ventricular morphology and function were assessed weekly during the first four weeks after MCT exposure. Using invasive measurements of RV pressure and volume, heart performance was evaluated at end of systole and diastole to quantify contractility (end-systolic elastance) and chamber stiffness (end-diastolic elastance). To distinguish between morphological and intrinsic mechanisms, a computational model of the RV was developed and used to determine the level of prediction when accounting for wall masses and unloaded volume measurements changes. By four weeks, mean pulmonary arterial pressure and elastance rose significantly. RV pressures rose significantly after the second week accompanied by significant RV hypertrophy, but RV stroke volume and cardiac output were maintained. The model analysis suggested that, after two weeks, this compensation was only possible due to a significant increase in the intrinsic inotropy of RV myocardium. We conclude that this MCT-PAH rat is a model of RV compensation during the first month after treatment, where geometric remodeling on EDPVR and increased myocardial contractility on ESPVR are the major mechanisms by which stroke volume is preserved in the setting of elevated pulmonary arterial pressure. The mediators of this compensation might themselves promote longer-term adverse remodeling and decompensation in this animal model.

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