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Pregnancy presents a unique set of cardiac stressors. In order to maintain homeostasis for both mother and fetus, the heart can undergo a period of hypertrophic growth to increase its pumping capabilities. Hypertrophy is most often classified as physiological or pathological. The former being an adaptive and reversible response to a transient stressor, whereas the latter is a disease induced state which leads to a decline in cardiac function. The hypertrophic growth seen in pregnancy is thought to be similar to the physiological hypertrophy seen in aerobic athletes. In both cases a consistent volume overload causes the heart to go through an eccentric growth process. While pregnancy induced hypertrophy is closely aligned with a physiological hypertrophy, recent work in our lab has shown that it does not perfectly follow the paradigm, and these differences can be exacerbated by multiple pregnancies. My work will further characterize pregnancy induced cardiac hypertrophy using mice as a model organism to help understand the effects of multiple pregnancies on the structural and functional adaptations of the heart and the reversibility of the hypertrophic condition following delivery. In order to accomplish this individual cardiac muscle cells will be isolated and then chemically and electrically stimulated in order to measure the contractile properties.
McNamara, Robert C., "The Effects of Multiple Pregnancies on the Reversibility of Cardiac Hypertrophy in the Murine Heart" (2018). Biology Honors Papers. 22.