Objective: This study was designed to investigate whether plasma concentration of cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1), a cytokine that induces cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and stimulates cardiac fibroblasts, is related to hypertensive heart disease, as defined by the presence of echocardiographically assessed left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH).
Methods: The study was performed in 31 normotensive subjects and 111 patients with never-treated essential hypertension (54 without LVH and 57 with LVH). Causes of LVH other than hypertension were excluded after a complete medical workup. A novel enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was developed to measure plasma CT-1.
Results: Plasma CT-1 was increased (P < 0.001) in hypertensives compared with normotensives. The value of CT-1 was higher (P < 0.001) in hypertensives with LVH than in hypertensives without LVH. Some 31% of patients without LVH exhibited values of CT-1 above the upper normal limit in normotensives. A direct correlation was found between CT-1 and left ventricular mass index (r = 0.319, P < 0.001) in all subjects. Receiver operating characteristic curves showed that a cutoff of 39 fmol/ml for CT-1 provided 75% specificity and 70% sensitivity for predicting LVH with a relative risk of 6.21 (95% confidence interval, 2.95 to 13.09).
Conclusions: These results show an association between LVH and the plasma concentration of CT-1 in essential hypertension. Although preliminary, these findings suggest that the determination of CT-1 may be an easy and reliable method for the initial screening and diagnosis of hypertensive heart disease.