Beta blocker therapy and prevention of apoptosis
Chronic congestive heart failure, initiated by ischemic or hypertensive damage of the myocardium, can continue to worsen over months or years, despite the absence of clinically apparent acute events. Electron microscopic studies using myocardial specimen obtained from failing human hearts (1) and hearts of dogs with experimental heart failure (2) have clearly established the existence of cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Thus, it has been hypothesized that progressive cell loss by myocyte apoptosis may accelerate the natural course of congestive heart failure. Activation of neurohormonal mechanisms including the beta adrenergic system has been suggested to induce myocyte apoptosis and, thus, to promote the course of heart failure.
KeywordsCongestive Heart Failure Cardiac Myocytes Renin Angiotensin System Sympathetic Nervous System Activity Chronic Congestive Heart Failure
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