Tsk mice with genetic emphysema. Right ventricular hypertrophy occurs without hypertrophy of muscular pulmonary arteries or muscularization of arterioles

Piero A. Martorana, Mark Wilkinson, Paul van Even, Giuseppe Lungarella

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The causes for the development of right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH) in emphysema are not fully understood. In the 1960s, studies of RVH in association with emphysema found no correlation between the extent of tissue damage in the lung and the RV weight. This was thought to disprove the theory that the RVH was due to an increase in pulmonary vascular resistance secondary to capillary destruction. In the present study, the development of RVH was investigated in tight-skin (tsk) mice with genetic emphysema. RVH started to develop in mature to senescent animals between 8 and 16 months of age and progressed thereafter. At 24 months of age, RV weight and the ratios RV/body weight and RV/LV + S weight were, respectively, 52, 96, and 60% greater than in control (pa) mice. At this time blood gas analysis revealed hypoxemia in tsk but not in pa mice. The mean linear intercept of tsk mice was 83% larger and the surface area of the walls of distal air spaces per unit lung volume was 40% smaller than in pa mice. There was a strong correlation between the severity of emphysema, assessed by both techniques, and the RV/LV + S ratio (p less than 0.001 for both). No muscularized arterioles were seen in the tsk mice, and the medial thickness of muscular arteries was almost identical in the two groups. This demonstrates that in emphysema, RVH can develop in the absence of pulmonary vascular changes and is probably due to tissue (and thus capillary) destruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)333-337
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Review of Respiratory Disease
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1990


  • Animals
  • Arterioles
  • Blood Gas Analysis
  • Cardiomegaly
  • Female
  • Hypertrophy
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Pulmonary Artery
  • Pulmonary Emphysema
  • Vascular Resistance

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