To characterize cardiac hypertrophy in juvenile visceral steatosis (JVS) mice with systemic carnitine deficiency, we investigated how the hypertrophy develops and whether it is associated with altered expression of any specific genes, especially atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and contractile protein genes, in the hypertrophied ventricle. Cardiac hypertrophy in JVS mice became apparent at 10 days after birth and progressed during development. The hypertrophy was observed in the ventricles but not in the atria. ANP mRNA was more intensively expressed in JVS ventricles than in control even at 5 days. Carnitine administration ameliorated the cardiac hypertrophy and suppressed the augmentation of ANP mRNA in the ventricles. Isoform change of expression of α-actin genes from cardiac to skeletal was seen in the ventricles of JVS mice at 2 weeks. There was no difference in the ratio of β-myosin heavy chain mRNA to α-myosin heavy chain mRNA between control and JVS mice at 5 days, but at 2 weeks the ratio was significantly lower in JVS mice than in control. These results suggest that the molecular characteristics of cardiac hypertrophy caused by carnitine deficiency are different from those of cardiac hypertrophy caused by aortic constriction.
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