Cytokines and heart rate variability in patients with chronic heart failure.Kardiol Pol. 2005 Nov; 63(5):478-85; discussion 486-7.KP
Heart rate variability (HRV) analysis is a non-invasive method of assessment of the autonomic nervous system's effects on heart function. In chronic heart failure (CHF), decreased HRV correlates with the progression of the disease. It is also known that in CHF increased levels of proinflammatory cytokines are present. Because these molecules are believed to influence the nervous system at both the central and peripheral levels, their potential role in HRV reduction in the course of CHF has been proposed.
The study was designed to verify potential relations between cytokines and HRV parameters in CHF patients. The concept of the study was driven by the recognition of controversies in this field and the paucity of published reports.
Forty-four patients with CHF and stable NYHA class I-IV symptoms and 15 healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Time-domain HRV analysis was performed based on of 24-hour Holter ECG monitoring. Plasma concentrations of soluble TNFalpha receptors sTNF-RI and sTNF-RII and interleukin 6 (IL-6) were measured using commercially available ELISA kits (Quantikine, RD Systems).
In patients with CHF, HRV indices included in the analysis were significantly decreased, and the levels of cytokines increased in comparison with the control group. In the whole study population, both in the CHF patients and the control group, significant negative correlations were observed between sTNF-RI level and long-term HRV indices such as SDNN (r=-0.44; p=0.0006), SDANN (r=-0.44; p=0.0005) and short-time index SDNNI (r=-0.37; p=0.004). Similar negative correlations were found between sTNF-RII level and SDNN (r=-0.35; p=0.007), SDANN (r=-0.34; p=0.01), and SDNNI (r=-0.31; p=0.02), as well as between IL-6 level and SDNN (r=-0.41; p=0.001), SDANN (r=-0.44; p=0.0005) and SDNNI (r=-0.34; p=0.009).
Significant negative correlations between TNF-alpha soluble receptors sTNF-RI, sTNF-RII and IL-6 levels and time-domain HRV parameters were observed in the study. Because the results of investigations conducted so far do not elucidate the cause-effect relationship, further studies are needed to clarify the mechanisms of HRV depression in CHF and the role of cytokines in this severe clinical condition.