Combined pulmonary insufficiency (PI) and stenosis (PS) is a common long-term sequela after repair of many forms of congenital heart disease, causing progressive right ventricular (RV) dilation and failure. Little is known of the mechanisms underlying this combination of preload and afterload stressors. We developed a murine model of PI and PS (PI+PS) to identify clinically relevant pathways and biomarkers of disease progression. Diastolic dysfunction was induced (restrictive RV filling, elevated RV end-diastolic pressures) at 1 month after generation of PI+PS and progressed to systolic dysfunction (decreased RV shortening) by 3 months. RV fibrosis progressed from 1 month (4.4% ± 0.4%) to 3 months (9.2% ± 1%), along with TGF-β signaling and tissue expression of profibrotic miR-21. Although plasma miR-21 was upregulated with diastolic dysfunction, it was downregulated with the onset of systolic dysfunction), correlating with RV fibrosis. Plasma miR-21 in children with PI+PS followed a similar pattern. A model of combined RV volume and pressure overload recapitulates the evolution of RV failure unique to patients with prior RV outflow tract surgery. This progression was characterized by enhanced TGF-β and miR-21 signaling. miR-21 may serve as a plasma biomarker of RV failure, with decreased expression heralding the need for valve replacement.


Sushma Reddy, Dong-Qing Hu, Mingming Zhao, Eddie Blay Jr., Nefthi Sandeep, Sang-Ging Ong, Gwanghyun Jung, Kristina B. Kooiker, Michael Coronado, Giovanni Fajardo, Daniel Bernstein


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