Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a form of cardiomyopathy characterized by ventricular tachyarrhythmias and a fibrofatty infiltrate that is believed to preferentially affect the right ventricle. Mutations in the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2) gene have been identified in some human families with a unique form of ARVC, ARVC2. Although the RyR2 has significant importance in excitation-contraction coupling across the ventricles, mutations in the gene encoding for it appear to have the greatest impact on the right ventricle in ARVC2. Using a canine model (boxer), the RyR2 protein and message RNA in the right ventricle, left ventricle and interventricular septum from normal dogs and dogs with ARVC were investigated by immunoblotting and real time PCR. The cardiac RyR2 message and protein expression were differentially expressed across the cardiac walls in the normal heart, with the lowest concentration expressed in the right ventricle (P< 0.05). The message and protein expression of the RyR2 were reduced in all chambers in the canine model of ARVC. We propose that the increased susceptibility of the right ventricle to ARVC may be associated with the lower baseline protein concentration of RyR2 in the normal right ventricle compared to the left ventricle and interventricular septum and that all three areas are equally affected in this canine model of ARVC. Using this naturally occurring model of canine ARVC, we may have provided new insights into the pathogenesis of this cardiomyopathy.
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