PloS one

Depression increases sympathetic activity and exacerbates myocardial remodeling after myocardial infarction: evidence from an animal experiment.

PMID 25036781


Depression is an independent risk factor for cardiovascular events and mortality in patients with myocardial infarction (MI). Excessive sympathetic activation and serious myocardial remodeling may contribute to this association. The aim of this study was to discuss the effect of depression on sympathetic activity and myocardial remodeling after MI. Wild-type (WT) rats were divided into a sham group (Sham), a myocardial infarction group (MI), a depression group (D), and a myocardial infarction plus depression group (MI+D). Compared with controls, the MI+D animals displayed depression-like behaviors and attenuated body weight gain. The evaluation of sympathetic activity showed an increased level in plasma concentrations of epinephrine and norepinephrine and higher expression of myocardial tyrosine hydroxylase in the MI+D group than the control groups (p<0.05 for all). Cardiac function and morphologic analyses revealed a decreased fractional shortening accompanied by increased left ventricular dimensions, thinning myocardium wall, and reduced collagen repair in the MI+D group compared with the MI group (p<0.05 for all). Frequent premature ventricular contractions, prolonged QT duration and ventricular repolarization duration, shorted effective refractory period, and increased susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmia were displayed in MI+D rats. These results indicate that sympathetic hyperactivation and exacerbated myocardial remodeling may be a plausible mechanism linking depression to an adverse prognosis after MI.