Cardiac dysfunction in a porcine model of pediatric malnutrition

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Christian Fabiansen, Mikkel Lykke, Anne-Louise Hother Nielsen, Jørgen Koch, Ole Bækgaard Nielsen, Ingrid Hunter, Jens P. Goetze, Henrik Friis, Thomas Thymann

BACKGROUND: Half a million children die annually of severe acute malnutrition and cardiac dysfunction may contribute to the mortality. However, cardiac function remains poorly examined in cases of severe acute malnutrition.

OBJECTIVE: To determine malnutrition-induced echocardiographic disturbances and longitudinal changes in plasma pro-atrial natriuretic peptide and cardiac troponin-T in a pediatric porcine model.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Five-week old piglets (Duroc-x-Danish Landrace-x-Yorkshire) were fed a nutritionally inadequate maize-flour diet to induce malnutrition (MAIZE, n = 12) or a reference diet (AGE-REF, n = 12) for 7 weeks. Outcomes were compared to a weight-matched reference group (WEIGHT-REF, n = 8). Pro-atrial natriuretic peptide and cardiac troponin-T were measured weekly. Plasma pro-atrial natriuretic peptide decreased in both MAIZE and AGE-REF during the first 3 weeks but increased markedly in MAIZE relative to AGE-REF during week 5-7 (p≤0.001). There was overall no difference in plasma cardiac troponin-T between groups. However, further analysis revealed that release of cardiac troponin-T in plasma was more frequent in AGE-REF compared with MAIZE (OR: 4.8; 95%CI: 1.2-19.7; p = 0.03). However, when release occurred, cardiac troponin-T concentration was 6.9-fold higher (95%CI: 3.0-15.9; p<0.001) in MAIZE compared to AGE-REF. At week 7, the mean body weight in MAIZE was lower than AGE-REF (8.3 vs 32.4 kg, p<0.001), whereas heart-weight relative to body-weight was similar across the three groups. The myocardial performance index was 86% higher in MAIZE vs AGE-REF (p<0.001) and 27% higher in MAIZE vs WEIGHT-REF (p = 0.025).

CONCLUSIONS: Malnutrition associates with cardiac dysfunction in a pediatric porcine model by increased myocardial performance index and pro-atrial natriuretic peptide and it associates with cardiac injury by elevated cardiac troponin-T. Clinical studies are needed to see if the same applies for children suffering from malnutrition.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0140472
JournalP L o S One
Volume10
Issue number10
Number of pages16
ISSN1932-6203
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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