Heat shock protein 27 is increased in cyanotic tetralogy of Fallot myocardium and is associated with improved cardiac output and contraction.
Tetralogy of Fallot (TOF) is a congenital heart condition in which the right ventricle is exposed to cyanosis and pressure overload. Patients have an increased risk of right ventricle dysfunction following corrective surgery. Whether the cyanotic myocardium is less tolerant of injury compared to non-cyanotic is unclear. Heat shock proteins (HSPs) protect against cellular stresses. The aim of this study was to examine HSP 27 expression in the right ventricle resected from TOF patients and determine its relationship with right ventricle function and clinical outcome. Ten cyanotic and ten non-cyanotic patients were studied. Western blotting was used to quantify HSP 27 in resected myocardium at (1) baseline (first 15 min of aortic cross clamp and closest representation of pre-operative status) and (2) after 15 min during ischemia until surgery was complete. The cyanotic group had significantly increased haematocrit, lower O(2) saturation, thicker interventricular septal wall thickness and released more troponin-I on post-operative day 1 (p < 0.05). HSP 27 expression was significantly increased in the <15 min cyanotic compared to the <15 min non-cyanotic group (p = 0.03). In the cyanotic group, baseline HSP 27 expression also significantly correlated with oxygen extraction ratio (p = 0.028), post-operative basal septal velocity (p = 0.036) and mixed venous oxygen saturation (p = 0.02), markers of improved cardiac output/contraction. Increased HSP 27 expression and associated improved right ventricle function and systemic perfusion supports a cardio-protective effect of HSP 27 in cyanotic TOF.