The Department of Biomedicine

BBB seminar: Geir Christensen

Heart failure and cardiac extracellular matrix: Role of proteoglycans

Geir Christensen,
Institute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo

Heart failure is a major cause of death in Western world countries, affecting 26 million people globally and 100 000-200 000 people in Norway. In contrast to the traditional view that the heart failure syndrome results mainly from reduced active contraction yielding reduced cardiac output (systolic dysfunction), over the last decade it has become clear that reduced filling of the heart (diastolic dysfunction) accounts for about half of the heart failure cases. Cardiac fibrosis is central to the development of diastolic dysfunction and reduced cardiac filling. Based on our own published and unpublished findings, we have shown that proteoglycans and their regulating enzymes are importantly involved in development of cardiac fibrosis. Proteoglycans are highly glycosylated proteins localized to the extracellular matrix and cell membranes. Exciting results from our laboratory indicate an important role for proteoglycans in determining cardiac extracellular matrix, myocardial stiffness and diastolic dysfunction. Moreover, our recent unpublished data are clearly promising with regard to improving treatment of cardiac fibrosis by targeting enzymes regulating proteoglycan cleavage. This concept is new and challenges the traditional view of heart failure treatment.

Chairperson: Helge Wiig, Department of Biomedicine