Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA), DNA synthesis and mitosis in myocytes following cardiac transplantation in man

Carlo Alberto Beltrami, Carla Di Loreto, Nicoletta Finato, Maurizio Rocco, Daria Artico, Elena Cigola, Steven R. Gambert, Giorgio Olivetti, Jan Kajstura, Piero Anversa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Cardiac transplantation is characterized by rejection, myocyte loss, interstitial and replacement fibrosis, and loading abnormalities. These modifications contribute to enhance mural and muscle cell stress, activating reactive growth processes in myocytes and interstitial cells. However, it is unknown whether cell cycle related gene product, such as PCNA, and DNA synthesis are stimulated under these conditions. Therefore, 62 endomyocardial biopsies obtained from 17 patients who underwent cardiac transplantation were examined for the immunocytochemical detection of PCNA protein in myocyte and non-myocyte nuclei. In addition, tissue samples were labeled in vitro with bromodeoxyuridine (BrdU) to document ongoing DNA synthesis. The presence of mitotic images in myocytes and non myocytes were also examined. Biopsies were collected from 1-768 days after surgery. Histologic examination of tissue sections documented that PCNA labeling involved nearly 30% of myocyte nuclei in all patients. Similar percentages of PCNA labeling were detected in interstitial cells, lymphocytes and mononuclear infiltrates. DNA synthesis in myocytes and connective tissue cells was observed in nine and 14 subjects, respectively. BrdU positive lymphocytes and mononuclear infiltrates in 13 cases. Three mitotic figures in myocyte nuclei were identified. PCNA, BrdU labeling and mitosis were not detected in eight myocardial samples obtained from control hearts. These results suggest that the evolution of the transplanted heart involves the expression of a gene which is implicated in DNA replication. The presence of ongoing DNA synthesis and mitosis support the notion that proliferation of myocytes and non muscle cells may be a component of ventricular remodeling after cardiac transplantation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2789-2802
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1997


  • Cardiac transplant
  • DNA synthesis
  • Human heart
  • Late growth related genes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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