—Chronic heart failure is associated with induction of secondary inflammatory mediators, including prostanoids. The latter exert diverse functional and morphological effects on cardiac myocytes. Induction of cyclooxygenase (COX), the enzyme responsible for generating prostanoids, requires activation of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). The aim of the present study was to determine the expression of COX-2 and activation of NF-κB in the failing human heart.
Methods and Results
—Myocardial tissue from 27 patients with end-stage heart failure (various etiologies: ischemic heart disease, n=16; idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, n=10; and valvular heart disease, n=1), 2 septic patients, and 8 normal control subjects was immunostained with antisera to COX-2 and NF-κB. Western blotting was performed and showed high anti–COX-2 antibody specificity and the presence of COX-2 protein in the sample tissues. In situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry showed little or no expression of COX-2 and NF-κB in the control hearts. In contrast, there was abundant expression of COX-2 mRNA and protein in myocytes and inflammatory cells in areas of fibrotic scar compared with regions of normal morphology in all cases of heart failure, except the cases with sepsis, which showed an abundance of COX-2 throughout the myocardium. Sites of NF-κB activation were associated with those of COX-2 expression.
—We demonstrate induction of COX-2 and activation of NF-κB in the myocardium of failing human hearts. Induction of both molecules appears to be associated with the presence of inflammation and scar formation.