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Autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (PKD) is a hereditary kidney disorder which can affect cardiovascular system. Cardiac hypertrophy and cardiomyopathy in PKD have been reported by echocardiography analyses, but histopathology analyses of human PKD hearts have never been examined. The current studies evaluated human heart tissues from five subjects without PKD (non-PKD) and five subjects with PKD. Our histopathology data of human PKD hearts showed an increased extracellular matrix associated with cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis. Hypertrophy- and fibrosis-associated pathways involving abnormal cardiac structure were next analyzed. We found that human PKD myocardium was infiltrated by inflammatory macrophage M1 and M2; expression of transforming growth factor (TGF-β1) and its receptor were upregulated with overexpression of pSmad3 and β-catenin. Because patients with PKD have an abnormal kidney function that could potentially affect heart structure, we used a heart-specific PKD mouse model to validate that cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis were independent from polycystic kidney. In summary, our data show that hearts from human PKD were characterized by hypertrophy, interstitial fibrosis, perivascular fibrosis, and conduction system fibrosis with upregulated TGF-β1 and its receptor. We suggest that such structural abnormalities may predispose to systolic and diastolic cardiac dysfunction in the PKD myocardium.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Cell and Tissue Research, volume 391, in 2022 following peer review. The final publication may differ and is available at Springer via

A free-to-read copy of the final published article is available here.





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