Somatic polyploidy promotes cell function under stress and energy depletion: evidence from tissue-specific mammal transcriptome
The ploidy levels of atrio- and ventriculocytes were determined by means of cytofluorimetry in 31 species of birds. The obtained data were collated with postnatal growth rate, heart mass index, and relative masses of heart chambers. The difference between mean ploidy of cardiomyocytes in the left and right atrium is small (7.9+/-0.6%) and comparable to the difference in the masses of these chambers (10.5+/-0.8%). The difference between mean ploidy of atrio- and ventriculocytes is most pronounced for the left and right parts of heart (23.9+/-1.4% and 24.0+/-1.3%, respectively) and corresponds to considerable differences in the average masses of atria and ventricles (4.5-fold and 2.1-fold, respectively). The mean cardiomyocyte ploidy levels in the left and right ventricles differ only slightly, as in the case of atria (by 8.1+/-0.5%), whereas the average mass of the left ventricle is greater by 237+/-16%. This discord can be explained by peculiarities of the growth, which is nonproportionally faster in the left ventricle during the last stage of proliferative heart growth as compared to other chambers. The cardiomyocyte ploidy is higher in birds with a relatively small heart and lower ability to flight. Birds with a high locomotor activity in the adult state have an athletic heart (mass index >1%); they are fast growing, altricial species with a low heart workload in the early postnatal ontogenesis. Birds with a low locomotor activity at the adult state are precocial; they grow slowly and have a high locomotor activity from the first minutes of life. Thus, notwithstanding the fact that a greater elevation of cardiomyocyte ploidy level is acquired under a higher functional load (ventricles vs. atria, left vs. right part of the heart), it is associated with a lower functional potential of the organ at the adult state. The level of somatic polyploidy can be considered an indicator of developmental tensions arising due to a high workload during the growth of a given organ and deficiency of resources invested into this growth. J. Exp. Zool. 293:427-441, 2002.