Chronic Rho-kinase inhibition improves left ventricular contractile dysfunction in early type-1 diabetes by increasing myosin cross-bridge extension.
ABSTRACT: Impaired actin-myosin cross-bridge (CB) dynamics correlate with impaired left ventricular (LV) function in early diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM). Elevated expression and activity of Rho kinase (ROCK) contributes to the development of DCM. ROCK targets several sarcomeric proteins including myosin light chain 2, myosin binding protein-C (MyBP-C), troponin I (TnI) and troponin T that all have important roles in regulating CB dynamics and contractility of the myocardium. Our aim was to examine if chronic ROCK inhibition prevents impaired CB dynamics and LV dysfunction in a rat model of early diabetes, and whether these changes are associated with changes in myofilament phosphorylation state.Seven days post-diabetes induction (65 mg/kg ip, streptozotocin), diabetic rats received the ROCK inhibitor, fasudil (10 mg/kg/day ip) or vehicle for 14 days. Rats underwent cardiac catheterization to assess LV function simultaneous with X-ray diffraction using synchrotron radiation to assess in situ CB dynamics.Compared to controls, diabetic rats developed mild systolic and diastolic dysfunction, which was attenuated by fasudil. End-diastolic and systolic myosin proximity to actin filaments were significantly reduced in diabetic rats (P < 0.05). In all rats there was an inverse correlation between ROCK1 expression and the extension of myosin CB in diastole, with the lowest ROCK expression in control and fasudil-treated diabetic rats. In diabetic and fasudil-treated diabetic rats changes in relative phosphorylation of TnI and MyBP-C were not significant from controls.Our results demonstrate a clear role for ROCK in the development of LV dysfunction and impaired CB dynamics in early DCM.
Project description:In previous studies of septal heart muscle from HCM patients with hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM, LVOT gradient 50-120 mmHg) we found that the level of phosphorylation of troponin I (TnI) and myosin binding protein C (MyBP-C) was extremely low yet samples from hearts with HCM or DCM mutations that did not have pressure overload were similar to donor heart controls. We therefore investigated heart muscle samples taken from patients undergoing valve replacement for aortic stenosis, since they have pressure overload that is unrelated to inherited cardiomyopathy. Thirteen muscle samples from septum and from free wall were analyzed (LVOT gradients 30-100 mmHg) The levels of TnI and MyBP-C phosphorylation were determined in muscle myofibrils by separating phosphospecies using phosphate affinity SDS-PAGE and detecting with TnI and MyBP-C specific antibodies. TnI was predominantly monophosphorylated and total phosphorylation was 0.85 ± 0.03 molsPi/mol TnI. This phosphorylation level was significantly different (<i>p</i> < 0.0001) from both donor heart TnI (1.6 ± 0.06 molsPi/mol TnI) and HOCM heart TnI (0.19 ± 0.04 molsPi/mol TnI). MyBP-C is phosphorylated at up to four sites. In donor heart the 4P and 3P species predominate but in the pressure overload samples the 4P species was much reduced and 3P and 1P species predominated. Total phosphorylation was 2.0 ± 0.2 molsPi/mol MyBP-C (<i>n</i> = 8) compared with 3.4 ± 0.07 (<i>n</i> = 21) in donor heart and 1.1 ± 0.1 (<i>n</i> = 10) in HOCM heart. We conclude that pressure overload may be associated with substantial dephosphorylation of troponin I and MyBP-C.
Project description:<h4>Aims </h4>Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is associated with mutations in many genes encoding sarcomere proteins. Truncating mutations in the titin gene TTN are the most frequent. Proteomic and functional characterizations are required to elucidate the origin of the disease and the pathogenic mechanisms of TTN-truncating variants.<h4>Methods and results </h4>We isolated myofibrils from DCM hearts carrying truncating TTN mutations and measured the Ca2+ sensitivity of force and its length dependence. Simultaneous measurement of force and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) consumption in skinned cardiomyocytes was also performed. Phosphorylation levels of troponin I (TnI) and myosin binding protein-C (MyBP-C) were manipulated using protein kinase A and λ phosphatase. mRNA sequencing was employed to overview gene expression profiles. We found that Ca2+ sensitivity of myofibrils carrying TTN mutations was significantly higher than in myofibrils from donor hearts. The length dependence of the Ca2+ sensitivity was absent in DCM myofibrils with TTN-truncating variants. No significant difference was found in the expression level of TTN mRNA between the DCM and donor groups. TTN exon usage and splicing were also similar. However, we identified down-regulation of genes encoding Z-disk proteins, while the atrial-specific regulatory myosin light chain gene, MYL7, was up-regulated in DCM patients with TTN-truncating variants.<h4>Conclusion </h4>Titin-truncating mutations lead to decreased length-dependent activation and increased elasticity of myofibrils. Phosphorylation levels of TnI and MyBP-C seen in the left ventricles are essential for the length-dependent changes in Ca2+ sensitivity in healthy donors, but they are reduced in DCM patients with TTN-truncating variants. A decrease in expression of Z-disk proteins may explain the observed decrease in myofibril passive stiffness and length-dependent activation.
Project description:RhoA/ROCK signaling plays an important role in diabetic nephropathy, and ROCK inhibitor fasudil exerts nephroprotection in experimental diabetic nephropathy. In this study we investigated the molecular mechanisms underlying the protective actions of fasudil in a rat model of diabetic nephropathy.Streptozotocin (STZ)-induced diabetic rats, to which fasudil or a positive control drug enalapril were orally administered for 8 months. Metabolic parameters and blood pressure were assessed during the treatments. After the rats were euthanized, kidney samples were collected for histological and molecular biological studies. VEGF, VEGFR1, VEGFR2 and fibronectin expression, and Src and caveolin-1 phosphorylation in the kidneys were assessed using RT-PCR, Western blot and immunohistochemistry assays. The association between VEGFR2 and caveolin-1 was analyzed with immunoprecipitation.Chronic administration of fasudil (30 and 100 mg·kg(-1)·d(-1)) or enalapril (10 mg/kg, bid) significantly attenuated the glomerular sclerosis and albuminuria in the diabetic rats. Furthermore, fasudil treatment prevented the upregulation of VEGF, VEGFR1, VEGFR2 and fibronectin, and the increased association between VEGFR2 and caveolin-1 in the renal cortices, and partially blocked Src activation and caveolin-1 phosphorylation on tyrosine 14 in the kidneys, whereas enalapril treatment had no effects on the VEGFR2/Src/caveolin-1 signaling pathway.Fasudil exerts protective actions in STZ-induced diabetic nephropathy by blocking the VEGFR2/Src/caveolin-1 signaling pathway and fibronectin upregulation. Thus, VEGFR2 may be a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of diabetic nephropathy.
Project description:Rho-associated coiled-coil-containing protein kinase (ROCK) is a serine/threonine kinase with essential roles in cytoskeletal functions. Substantial evidence implicates ROCK as a critical regulator in the inception and progression of diabetic nephropathy through a mechanism involving mesangial fibrosis, podocyte apoptosis, and endothelial inflammation. Despite these experimental observations, human data is lacking. Here we show that the phosphorylated form of myosin phosphatase targeting subunit 1 (MYPT1), a ROCK substrate, was increased in both the glomerular and tubulointerstitial areas in patients with histologically confirmed diabetic nephropathy. We also conducted a retrospective pilot analysis of data from patients with diabetes to assess the renoprotective effects of fasudil, an ATP-competitive ROCK inhibitor licensed in Japan for the prevention of vasospasm following subarachnoid hemorrhage. Fifteen subjects (male, <i>n</i> = 8; female, <i>n</i> = 7; age 65.7 ± 14.7 years; body height, 161.1 ± 12.6 cm; body weight, 57.6 ± 13.7 kg; body mass index, 22.4 ± 3.7 kg/m<sup>2</sup>) were enrolled to evaluate blood pressure and the renal outcome after fasudil treatment. Of note, proteinuria was significantly reduced at the end of the fasudil treatment without affecting the blood pressure or estimated glomerular filtration rate. Taken together, these findings suggest that the administration of fasudil could be associated with a better renal outcome by inhibiting the ROCK activity in patients with diabetes.
Project description:Activation of aldosterone/mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) has been implicated in vascular dysfunction of diabetes. Underlying mechanisms are elusive. Therefore, we investigated the role of Rho kinase (ROCK) in aldosterone/MR signaling and vascular dysfunction in a model of diabetes. Diabetic obese mice (db/db) and control counterparts (db/+) were treated with MR antagonist (MRA, potassium canrenoate, 30?mg/kg/day, 4 weeks) or ROCK inhibitor, fasudil (30?mg/kg/day, 3 weeks). Plasma aldosterone was increased in db/db versus db/+. This was associated with enhanced vascular MR signaling. Norepinephrine (NE)-induced contraction was increased in arteries from db/db mice. These responses were attenuated in mice treated with canrenoate or fasudil. Db/db mice displayed hypertrophic remodeling and increased arterial stiffness, improved by MR blockade. Vascular calcium sensitivity was similar between depolarized arteries from db/+ and db/db. Vascular hypercontractility in db/db mice was associated with increased myosin light chain phosphorylation and reduced expression of PKG-1?. Vascular RhoA/ROCK signaling and expression of pro-inflammatory and pro-fibrotic markers were exaggerated in db/db mice, effects that were attenuated by MRA. Fasudil, but not MRA, improved vascular insulin sensitivity in db/db mice, evidenced by normalization of Irs1 phosphorylation. Our data identify novel pathways involving MR-RhoA/ROCK-PKG-1 that underlie vascular dysfunction and injury in diabetic mice.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) contributes to cardiac failure in diabetic patients. It is characterized by excessive lipids accumulation, with increased triacylglycerol (TAG) stores, and fibrosis in left ventricle (LV). The mechanisms responsible are incompletely known and no specific treatment is presently defined. We evaluated the possible usefulness of two molecules promoting lipid oxidation, fenofibrate and metformin, in an experimental model of DCM, the Zucker diabetic rat (ZDF). METHODS: ZDF and controls (C) rats were studied at 7, 14 and 21 weeks. After an initial study at 7 weeks, ZDF rats received no treatment, metformin or fenofibrate until final studies (at 14 or 21 weeks). C rats received no treatment. Each study comprised measurements of metabolic parameters (plasma glucose, TAG, insulin levels) and sampling of heart for histology and measurements of TAG content and relevant mRNA concentration. RESULTS: ZDF rats were insulin-resistant at 7 weeks, type 2 diabetic at 14 weeks and diabetic with insulin deficiency at 21 weeks. Their plasma TAG levels were increased. ZDF rats had at 7 weeks an increased LV TAG content with some fibrosis. LV TAG content increased in untreated ZDF rats at 14 and 21 weeks and was always higher than in C. Fibrosis increased also moderately in untreated ZDF rats. Metformin and fenofibrate decreased plasma TAG concentrations. LV TAG content was decreased by metformin (14 and 21 weeks) and by fenofibrate (14 weeks). Fibrosis was reduced by fenofibrate only and was increased by metformin. Among the mRNA measured, fenofibrate increased Acyl-CoA Oxidase mRNA level, metformin decreased Acyl-CoA Synthase and increased AdipoR1 and pro-inflammatory mRNA levels. CONCLUSION: Fenofibrate had favourable actions on DCM. Metformin had beneficial effect on TAG content but not on fibrosis. PPARalpha agonists could be useful for the prevention and treatment of DCM.
Project description:Rho-associated kinase (ROCK) activation was shown to contribute to microvascular closure, retinal hypoxia, and to retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) barrier disruption in a rat model of diabetic retinopathy. Fasudil, a clinically approved ROCK inhibitor, improved retinal perfusion and reduced edema in this model, indicating that ROCK inhibition could be a promising new therapeutic approach for the treatment of diabetic retinopathy. However, due to its short intravitreal half-life, fasudil is not suitable for long-term treatment. In this study, we evaluated a very potent ROCK1/2 inhibitor (BIRKI) in a depot formulation administered as a single intravitreal injection providing a slow release for at least four weeks. Following BIRKI intravitreal injection in old Goto-Kakizaki (GK) type 2 diabetic rats, we observed a significant reduction in ROCK1 activity in the retinal pigment epithelium/choroid complex after 8 days and relocation of ROCK1 to the cytoplasm and nucleus in retinal pigment epithelium cells after 28 days. The chronic ROCK inhibition by the BIRKI depot formulation restored retinal pigment epithelial cell morphology and distribution, favored retinal capillaries dilation, and reduced hypoxia and inner blood barrier leakage observed in the diabetic retina. No functional or morphological negative effects were observed, indicating suitable tolerability of BIRKI after intravitreous injection. In conclusion, our data suggest that sustained ROCK inhibition, provided by BIRKI slow-release formulation, could be a valuable treatment option for diabetic retinopathy, especially with regard to the improvement of retinal vascular infusion and protection of the outer retinal barrier.
Project description:Heart failure (HF) as a result of myocardial infarction (MI) is a major cause of fatality worldwide. However, the cause of cardiac dysfunction succeeding MI has not been elucidated at a sarcomeric level. Thus, studying the alterations within the sarcomere is necessary to gain insights on the fundamental mechansims leading to HF and potentially uncover appropriate therapeutic targets. Since existing research portrays regulatory light chains (RLC) to be mediators of cardiac muscle contraction in both human and animal models, its role was further explored In this study, a detailed characterisation of the physiological changes (i.e., isometric force, calcium sensitivity and sarcomeric protein phosphorylation) was assessed in an MI mouse model, between 2D (2 days) and 28D post-MI, and the changes were related to the phosphorylation status of RLCs. MI mouse models were created via complete ligation of left anterior descending (LAD) coronary artery. Left ventricular (LV) papillary muscles were isolated and permeabilised for isometric force and Ca<sup>2+</sup> sensitivity measurement, while the LV myocardium was used to assay sarcomeric proteins' (RLC, troponin I (TnI) and myosin binding protein-C (MyBP-C)) phosphorylation levels and enzyme (myosin light chain kinase (MLCK), zipper interacting protein kinase (ZIPK) and myosin phosphatase target subunit 2 (MYPT2)) expression levels. Finally, the potential for improving the contractility of diseased cardiac papillary fibres via the enhancement of RLC phosphorylation levels was investigated by employing RLC exchange methods, in vitro. RLC phosphorylation and isometric force potentiation were enhanced in the compensatory phase and decreased in the decompensatory phase of HF failure progression, respectively. There was no significant time-lag between the changes in RLC phosphorylation and isometric force during HF progression, suggesting that changes in RLC phosphorylation immediately affect force generation. Additionally, the in vitro increase in RLC phosphorylation levels in 14D post-MI muscle segments (decompensatory stage) enhanced its force of isometric contraction, substantiating its potential in HF treatment. Longitudinal observation unveils potential mechanisms involving MyBP-C and key enzymes regulating RLC phosphorylation, such as MLCK and MYPT2 (subunit of MLCP), during HF progression. This study primarily demonstrates that RLC phosphorylation is a key sarcomeric protein modification modulating cardiac function. This substantiates the possibility of using RLCs and their associated enzymes to treat HF.
Project description:<h4>Background and purpose</h4>Rho kinase (ROCK) activation is involved in neuroinflammatory processes leading to progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease. Furthermore, ROCK plays a major role in angiogenesis. Neuroinflammation and angiogenesis are mechanisms involved in developing l-DOPA-induced dyskinesias (LID). However, it is not known whether ROCK plays a role in LID and whether ROCK inhibitors may be useful against LID.<h4>Experimental approach</h4>In rats, we performed short- and long-term dopaminergic lesions using 6-hydroxydopamine and developed a LID model. Effects of dopaminergic lesions and LID on the RhoA/ROCK levels were studied by western blot, real-time PCR analyses and ROCK activity assays in the substantia nigra and striatum. The effects of the ROCK inhibitor fasudil on LID were particularly investigated.<h4>Key results</h4>Short-term 6-hydroxydopamine lesions increased nigrostriatal RhoA/ROCK expression, apparently related to the active neuroinflammatory process. However, long-term dopaminergic denervation (completed and stabilized lesions) led to a decrease in RhoA/ROCK levels. Rats with LID showed a significant increase of RhoA and ROCK expression. The development of LID was reduced by the ROCK inhibitor fasudil (10 and 40 mg·kg<sup>-1</sup> ), without interfering with the therapeutic effect of l-DOPA. Interestingly, treatment of 40 mg·kg<sup>-1</sup> of fasudil also induced a significant reduction of dyskinesia in rats with previously established LID.<h4>Conclusion and implications</h4>The present results suggest that ROCK is involved in the pathophysiology of LID and that ROCK inhibitors such as fasudil may be a novel target for preventing or treating LID. Furthermore, previous studies have revealed neuroprotective effects of ROCK inhibitors.
Project description:Rho-kinase (ROCK) inhibition, broadly utilised in cardiovascular disease, may protect the blood-brain barrier (BBB) during thrombolysis from rt-PA-induced damage. While the use of nonselective ROCK inhibitors like fasudil together with rt-PA may be hindered by possible hypotensive side-effects and inadequate capacity to block detrimental rt-PA activity in brain endothelial cells (BECs), selective ROCK-2 inhibition may overcome these limitations. Here, we examined ROCK-2 expression in major brain cells and compared the ability of fasudil and KD025, a selective ROCK-2 inhibitor, to attenuate rt-PA-induced BBB impairment in an in vitro human model. ROCK-2 was highly expressed relative to ROCK-1 in all human and mouse brain cell types and particularly enriched in rodent brain endothelial cells and astrocytes compared to neurons. KD025 was more potent than fasudil in attenuation of rt-PA- and plasminogen-induced BBB permeation under normoxia, but especially under stroke-like conditions. Importantly, only KD025, but not fasudil, was able to block rt-PA-dependent permeability increases, morphology changes and tight junction degradation in isolated BECs. Selective ROCK-2 inhibition further diminished rt-PA-triggered myosin phosphorylation, shape alterations and matrix metalloprotease activation in astrocytes. These findings highlight ROCK-2 as the key isoform driving BBB impairment and brain endothelial damage by rt-PA and the potential of KD025 to optimally protect the BBB during thrombolysis.