Hypertension-induced left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), along with ischemic heart disease, result in LV remodeling as part of a continuum that often leads to congestive heart failure. The neurohormonal model has been used to underpin many treatment strategies, but optimal outcomes have not been achieved. Neuropeptide Y (NPY) has emerged as an additional therapeutic target, ever since it was recognised as an important mediator released from sympathetic nerves in the heart, affecting coronary artery constriction and myocardial contraction. More recent interest has focused on the mitogenic and hypertrophic effects that are observed in endothelial and vascular smooth muscle cells, and cardiac myocytes. Of the six identified NPY receptor subtypes, Y1, Y2 and Y5 appear to mediate the main functional responses in the heart. Plasma levels of NPY become elevated due to the increased sympathetic activation present in stress-related cardiac conditions. Also, NPY and Y receptor polymorphisms have been identified that may predispose individuals to increased risk of hypertension and cardiac complications. This review examines what understanding exists regarding the likely contribution of NPY to cardiac pathology. It appears that NPY may play a part in compensatory or detrimental remodeling of myocardial tissue subsequent to hemodynamic overload or myocardial infarction, and in angiogenic processes to regenerate myocardium after ischemic injury. However, greater mechanistic information is required in order to truly assess the potential for treatment of cardiac diseases using NPY-based drugs.
Keywords: Neuropeptide Y, hypertension, left ventricular hypertrophy, myocardial infarction, ischemia, heart failure, Y receptors, cardiomyocyte