Microcurrent stimulation promotes reverse remodelling in cardiomyocytes

Aims: It has been shown that electrical stimulation can improve tissue repair in patients. Imbalances in the extracellular matrix composition induce manifestation of heart failure. Here we investigated the application of microcurrent (MC) to modulate the expression of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMPs) in cardiomyocytes in vitro and in vivo to reverse remodelling in the heart in spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHR).

Methods: Cardiomyocytes from young SHR (7 months) and old SHR (14 months) were stimulated in vitro and in vivo with MC. MMP and TIMP expression were analysed by qPCR and immunofluorescence to evaluate the modulation of MC treatment.

Results: Modulation of cardiomyocytes with MC enhances proliferation with no morphological changes in vitro. By electrical stimulation dual effects, increase and decrease, on MMP-2, MMP-9, TIMP-3, and TIMP-4 mRNA as well as protein expression were observed, depending on the age of the cardiomyocytes. In our in vivo study, MC down-regulated MMP-2, MMP-9, and TIMP-4 and increased TIMP-3 in young SHR. In old SHR MMP-2, MMP-9, and TIMP-4 were up-regulated, whereas TIMP-3 was unaffected.

Conclusions: Our data indicate that treatment of MC can modulate the expression of MMPs and TIMPs in vitro and in vivo in SHR. Based on these results new treatments for heart failure could be developed.

Publication date
2016 Jun


Principal Investigators
  • Barbara Kapeller
  • Johannes Mueller
  • Udo Losert
  • Bruno K Podesser
  • Karin Macfelda




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