Plasma Urotensin in Human Systolic Heart Failure
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Background— Human urotensin II (UTN) has potent vasoactive and cardiostimulatory effects, acting on the G protein–linked receptor GPR14. Myocardial UTN expression is upregulated in heart failure, and UTN stimulates myocardial expression of the natriuretic peptides. We investigated plasma UTN levels in heart failure (HF; left ventricular systolic dysfunction) in comparison with plasma N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide (N-BNP) levels.
Methods and Results— N-BNP and UTN were measured in plasma from 126 patients with HF and 220 age- and sex-matched controls. Both peptides were elevated in plasma of HF patients and were correlated (rs=0.35, P<0.001). In contrast to N-BNP, there was no relationship of plasma UTN with New York Heart Association (NYHA) class. Although plasma N-BNP showed a positive relationship with age and female sex, there was no such age-dependent change in plasma UTN, and control women had lower levels compared with control men. Receiver operating characteristic curves for the diagnosis of HF had areas of 0.90 and 0.86 for N-BNP and UTN, respectively (P<0.001 for both). Receiver operating characteristic curve area for diagnosis of NYHA class I HF with UTN was better than that with N-BNP.
Conclusions— Plasma UTN is elevated in HF, which suggests a pathophysiological role for this peptide. Plasma UTN may be a useful alternative to N-BNP in the diagnosis of HF, inasmuch as its levels are elevated irrespective of age, sex, or NYHA class.
Received September 6, 2002; revision received October 15, 2002; accepted October 17, 2002.