Fibrosing Cardiomyopathy

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Human Uniqueness Compared to "Great Apes": 
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Fibrosing cardiomyopathy (replacement of the heart muscle by fibrous tissue) is a common cause of heart failure and/or sudden death in middle-aged or elderly great apes, especially in males. There is apparently no direct counterpart of this disease in humans. This cause of heart failure or heart attack should not be confused with the common form of heart disease in humans, caused by atherosclerotic vascular disease, which blocks the blood supply to the coronary arteries that supply the heart muscle with blood.

There are two types of myocardial fibrosis (replacement or scarring and reactive or interstitial myocardial fibrosis). Interstitial myocardial fibrosis is the type most commonly documented in chimpanzees and is associated with pressure or volume overload.

The use of diagnostics like electrocardiogram, blood pressure and echocardiography are being evaluated as tools to diagnose myocardial fibrosis antemortem in great apes. Serum biomarkers are used to diagnose cardiac disease in humans. Several of these biomarkers are currently being evaluated as a potential tool to predict heart disease in chimpanzees. Some of the biomarkers being evaluated include CRP, MMP, cardiac troponin and BNP. It is currently unclear how predictive these biomarkers will be in chimpanzees.

There are two mysteries to be solved. Why do humans not often suffer from the Interstitial myocardial fibrosis so common in our closest evolutionary cousins? Conversely, why do “Great Apes” not often have the kind of ischemic heart disease so common in humans?
 

 

Timing

Timing of appearance of the difference in the Hominin Lineage as a defined date or a lineage separation event. The point in time associated with lineage separation events may change in the future as the scientific community agrees upon better time estimates. Lineage separation events are defined in 2017 as:

  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and old world monkeys was 25,000 - 30,000 thousand (25 - 30 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and chimpanzees was 6,000 - 8,000 thousand (6 - 8 million) years ago
  • the emergence of the genus Homo was 2,000 thousand (2 million) years ago
  • the Last Common Ancestor (LCA) of humans and neanderthals was 500 thousand years ago
  • the common ancestor of modern humans was 100 - 300 thousand years ago

Possible Appearance: 
6,000 thousand years ago
Probable Appearance: 
2,000 thousand years ago
Definite Appearance: 
100 thousand years ago
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References

  1. Gut microbiome composition is associated with cardiac disease in zoo-housed western lowland gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla)., Krynak, Katherine L., Burke David J., Martin Ryan A., and Dennis Patricia M. , FEMS Microbiol Lett, 2017 Aug 15, Volume 364, Issue 15, (2017)
  2. Heart disease is common in humans and chimpanzees, but is caused by different pathological processes, Varki, Nissi, Anderson Dan, Herndon James G., Pham Tho, Gregg Christopher J., Cheriyan Monica, Murphy James, Strobert Elizabeth, Fritz Jo, Else James G., et al. , Evol Appl, Volume 2, Issue 1, Number 1, p.101-112, (2009)
  3. Spontaneous heart disease in the adult chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes)., Seiler, Brittany M., Dick Edward J., Guardado-Mendoza Rodolfo, VandeBerg John L., Williams Jeff T., Mubiru James N., and Hubbard Gene B. , J Med Primatol, 2009 Feb, Volume 38, Issue 1, p.51-8, (2009)
  4. Interstitial myocardial fibrosis in a captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) population., Lammey, Michael L., Baskin Gary B., Gigliotti Andrew P., D Lee Rick, Ely John J., and Sleeper Meg M. , Comp Med, 2008 Aug, Volume 58, Issue 4, p.389-94, (2008)
  5. Sudden cardiac death in 13 captive chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes)., Lammey, Michael L., D Lee Rick, Ely John J., and Sleeper Meg M. , J Med Primatol, 2008 Feb, Volume 37 Suppl 1, p.39-43, (2008)
  6. A primer of primate pathology: lesions and nonlesions., Lowenstine, Linda J. , Toxicol Pathol, 2003 Jan-Feb, Volume 31 Suppl, p.92-102, (2003)
  7. Fibrosing Cardiomyopathy in Captive Western Lowland Gorillas (Gorilla gorilla gorilla) in the United States: A Retrospective Study, Schulman, F. Y., Farb A., Virmani R., and Montali R. J. , Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine, Volume 26, p.43-51, (1995)
  8. Diffuse myocardial fibrosis and congestive heart failure in an adult male chimpanzee., Hansen, J F., Alford P L., and Keeling M E. , Vet Pathol, 1984 Sep, Volume 21, Issue 5, p.529-31, (1984)