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A serious complication of chronic heart failure (CHI) is cardiac cachexia, which is associated with a poor prognosis but its multifactorial etiology is not completely clarified yet. There is currently no therapeutic option for the treatment of the cardiac cachexia. An option for a treatment of the cardiac cachexia could be to stabilise or even increase the non-oedematous weight.
This could positively affect the progress of the recovery and finally the quality of life, as well as the survival rate of patients with CHI. Ghrelin, which is produced in the gastric lining, is effective as a physiologic appetite stimulant and influences the release of growth hormone into the blood stream. This study determined the effects of repeated subcutaneous injection vs. continuous application via osmotic pump of the ghrelin analogue BIM-28131 on the body weight and composition, as well as the weight of organs and cardiac function in a rat model with CHI. Myocardial infarction of the left ventricule was induced in juvenile rats with a size of approx. 48%, which led to heart failure in all animals.
However, it was not possible to induce a welldefined cachectic status. However, the results of this research showed that ghrelin analogue BIM-28131 had some beneficial potential for cachexia treatment in rats with CHI. The medication of the ghrelin analogon induced an increase in body weight independently of the type of application. In addition, the results showed an increase in fat and muscle mass compared to the placebo-treated rats, whereas the way of application had a different effect on fat- and muscle growth.
In contrast to the results of other studies with ghrelin, the application of ghrelin analogue BIM-28131 could only slightly improve the cardiac function, independently of the way of application.
In future, the results of the research should be considered when developing a special therapy for cardiac cachexia. However, alternative forms of application should also be taken into account in order to improve the compliance of patients.