Myocardial NF-κB activation is essential for zebrafish heart regeneration.
ABSTRACT: Heart regeneration offers a novel therapeutic strategy for heart failure. Unlike mammals, lower vertebrates such as zebrafish mount a strong regenerative response following cardiac injury. Heart regeneration in zebrafish occurs by cardiomyocyte proliferation and reactivation of a cardiac developmental program, as evidenced by induction of gata4 regulatory sequences in regenerating cardiomyocytes. Although many of the cellular determinants of heart regeneration have been elucidated, how injury triggers a regenerative program through dedifferentiation and epicardial activation is a critical outstanding question. Here, we show that NF-κB signaling is induced in cardiomyocytes following injury. Myocardial inhibition of NF-κB activity blocks heart regeneration with pleiotropic effects, decreasing both cardiomyocyte proliferation and epicardial responses. Activation of gata4 regulatory sequences is also prevented by NF-κB signaling antagonism, suggesting an underlying defect in cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation. Our results implicate NF-κB signaling as a key node between cardiac injury and tissue regeneration.
Project description:Heart regeneration is limited in adult mammals but occurs naturally in adult zebrafish through the activation of cardiomyocyte division. Several components of the cardiac injury microenvironment have been identified, yet no factor on its own is known to stimulate overt myocardial hyperplasia in a mature, uninjured animal. In this study, we find evidence that Neuregulin1 (Nrg1), previously shown to have mitogenic effects on mammalian cardiomyocytes, is sharply induced in perivascular cells after injury to the adult zebrafish heart. Inhibition of Erbb2, an Nrg1 co-receptor, disrupts cardiomyocyte proliferation in response to injury, whereas myocardial Nrg1 overexpression enhances this proliferation. In uninjured zebrafish, the reactivation of Nrg1 expression induces cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation, overt muscle hyperplasia, epicardial activation, increased vascularization, and causes cardiomegaly through persistent addition of wall myocardium. Our findings identify Nrg1 as a potent, induced mitogen for the endogenous adult heart regeneration program.
Project description:During heart development and regeneration, coronary vascularization is tightly coupled with cardiac growth. Although inhibiting vascularization causes defects in the innate regenerative response of zebrafish to heart injury, angiogenic signals are not known to be sufficient for triggering regeneration events. Here, by using a transgenic reporter strain, we found that regulatory sequences of the angiogenic factor vegfaa are active in epicardial cells of uninjured animals, as well as in epicardial and endocardial tissue adjacent to regenerating muscle upon injury. Additionally, we find that induced cardiac overexpression of vegfaa in zebrafish results in overt hyperplastic thickening of the myocardial wall, accompanied by indicators of angiogenesis, epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition, and cardiomyocyte regeneration programs. Unexpectedly, vegfaa overexpression in the context of cardiac injury enabled ectopic cardiomyogenesis but inhibited regeneration at the site of the injury. Our findings identify Vegfa as one of a select few known factors sufficient to activate adult cardiomyogenesis, while also illustrating how instructive factors for heart regeneration require spatiotemporal control for efficacy.
Project description:In response to cardiac damage, a mesothelial tissue layer enveloping the heart called the epicardium is activated to proliferate and accumulate at the injury site. Recent studies have implicated the epicardium in multiple aspects of cardiac repair: as a source of paracrine signals for cardiomyocyte survival or proliferation; a supply of perivascular cells and possibly other cell types such as cardiomyocytes; and as a mediator of inflammation. However, the biology and dynamism of the adult epicardium is poorly understood. To investigate this, we created a transgenic line to ablate the epicardial cell population in adult zebrafish. Here we find that genetic depletion of the epicardium after myocardial loss inhibits cardiomyocyte proliferation and delays muscle regeneration. The epicardium vigorously regenerates after its ablation, through proliferation and migration of spared epicardial cells as a sheet to cover the exposed ventricular surface in a wave from the chamber base towards its apex. By reconstituting epicardial regeneration ex vivo, we show that extirpation of the bulbous arteriosus-a distinct, smooth-muscle-rich tissue structure that distributes outflow from the ventricle-prevents epicardial regeneration. Conversely, experimental repositioning of the bulbous arteriosus by tissue recombination initiates epicardial regeneration and can govern its direction. Hedgehog (Hh) ligand is expressed in the bulbous arteriosus, and treatment with a Hh signalling antagonist arrests epicardial regeneration and blunts the epicardial response to muscle injury. Transplantation of Sonic hedgehog (Shh)-soaked beads at the ventricular base stimulates epicardial regeneration after bulbous arteriosus removal, indicating that Hh signalling can substitute for the influence of the outflow tract. Thus, the ventricular epicardium has pronounced regenerative capacity, regulated by the neighbouring cardiac outflow tract and Hh signalling. These findings extend our understanding of tissue interactions during regeneration and have implications for mobilizing epicardial cells for therapeutic heart repair.
Project description:Heart failure is often the consequence of insufficient cardiac regeneration. Neonatal mice retain a certain capability of myocardial regeneration until postnatal day (P)7, although the underlying transcriptional mechanisms remain largely unknown. We demonstrate here that cardiac abundance of the transcription factor GATA4 was high at P1, but became strongly reduced at P7 in parallel with loss of regenerative capacity. Reconstitution of cardiac GATA4 levels by adenoviral gene transfer markedly improved cardiac regeneration after cryoinjury at P7. In contrast, the myocardial scar was larger in cardiomyocyte-specific Gata4 knockout (CM-G4-KO) mice after cryoinjury at P0, indicative of impaired regeneration, which was accompanied by reduced cardiomyocyte proliferation and reduced myocardial angiogenesis in CM-G4-KO mice. Cardiomyocyte proliferation was also diminished in cardiac explants from CM-G4-KO mice and in isolated cardiomyocytes with reduced GATA4 expression. Mechanistically, decreased GATA4 levels caused the downregulation of several pro-regenerative genes (among them interleukin-13, Il13) in the myocardium. Interestingly, systemic administration of IL-13 rescued defective heart regeneration in CM-G4-KO mice and could be evaluated as therapeutic strategy in the future.
Project description:Heart regeneration requires replenishment of lost cardiomyocytes (CMs) and cells of the endocardial lining. However, the signaling regulation and transcriptional control of myocardial dedifferentiation and endocardial activation are incompletely understood during cardiac regeneration. Here, we report that T-Box Transcription Factor 20 (Tbx20) is induced rapidly in the myocardial wound edge in response to various sources of cardiac damages in zebrafish. Inducing Tbx20 specifically in the adult myocardium promotes injury-induced CM proliferation through CM dedifferentiation, leading to loss of CM cellular contacts and re-expression of cardiac embryonic or fetal gene programs. Unexpectedly, we identify that myocardial Tbx20 induction activates the endocardium at the injury site with enhanced endocardial cell extension and proliferation, where it induces the endocardial Bone morphogenetic protein 6 (Bmp6) signaling. Pharmacologically inactivating endocardial Bmp6 signaling reduces expression of its targets, Id1 and Id2b, attenuating the increased endocardial regeneration in tbx20-overexpressing hearts. Altogether, our study demonstrates that Tbx20 induction promotes adult heart regeneration by inducing cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation as well as non-cell-autonomously enhancing endocardial cell regeneration.
Project description:In contrast to mammals, adult zebrafish have a high capacity to regenerate damaged or lost myocardium through proliferation of cardiomyocytes spared from damage. The epicardial sheet covering the heart is activated by injury and aids muscle regeneration through paracrine effects and as a multipotent cell source, and has received recent attention as a target in cardiac repair strategies. Although it is recognized that epicardium is required for muscle regeneration and itself has high regenerative potential, the extent of cellular heterogeneity within epicardial tissue is largely unexplored. Here, we performed transcriptome analysis on dozens of epicardial lineage cells purified from zebrafish harboring a transgenic reporter for the pan-epicardial gene tcf21. Hierarchical clustering analysis suggested the presence of at least three epicardial cell subsets defined by expression signatures. We validated many new pan-epicardial and epicardial markers by alternative expression assays. Additionally, we explored the function of the scaffolding protein and main component of caveolae, caveolin 1 (cav1), which was present in each epicardial subset. In BAC transgenic zebrafish, cav1 regulatory sequences drove strong expression in ostensibly all epicardial cells and in coronary vascular endothelial cells. Moreover, cav1 mutant zebrafish generated by genome editing showed grossly normal heart development and adult cardiac anatomy, but displayed profound defects in injury-induced cardiomyocyte proliferation and heart regeneration. Our study defines a new platform for the discovery of epicardial lineage markers, genetic tools, and mechanisms of heart regeneration.
Project description:Unlike adult mammals, adult zebrafish vigorously regenerate lost heart muscle in response to injury. The epicardium, a mesothelial cell layer enveloping the myocardium, is activated to proliferate after cardiac injury and can contribute vascular support cells or provide mitogens to regenerating muscle. Here, we applied proteomics to identify secreted proteins that are associated with heart regeneration. We found that Fibronectin, a main component of the extracellular matrix, is induced and deposited after cardiac damage. In situ hybridization and transgenic reporter analyses indicated that expression of two fibronectin paralogues, fn1 and fn1b, are induced by injury in epicardial cells, while the itgb3 receptor is induced in cardiomyocytes near the injury site. fn1, the more dynamic of these paralogs, is induced chamber-wide within one day of injury before localizing epicardial Fn1 synthesis to the injury site. fn1 loss-of-function mutations disrupted zebrafish heart regeneration, as did induced expression of a dominant-negative Fibronectin cassette, defects that were not attributable to direct inhibition of cardiomyocyte proliferation. These findings reveal a new role for the epicardium in establishing an extracellular environment that supports heart regeneration.
Project description:By contrast with mammals, adult zebrafish have a high capacity to regenerate damaged or lost myocardium through proliferation of spared cardiomyocytes. The epicardial sheet covering the heart is activated by injury and aids muscle regeneration through paracrine effects and as a multipotent cell source, and has received recent attention as a target in cardiac repair strategies. While it is recognized that epicardium is required for muscle regeneration and itself has high regenerative potential, the extent of cellular heterogeneity within epicardial tissue is largely unexplored. In this study, we performed transcriptome analysis on dozens of epicardial lineage cells purified from zebrafish harboring a transgenic reporter for the pan-epicardial gene tcf21. Hierarchical clustering analysis suggested the presence of at least three epicardial cell subsets defined by expression signatures. We validated many new pan-epicardial and epicardial markers by alternative expression assays. Additionally, we explored the function of the scaffolding protein and main component of caveolae, caveolin-1 (cav1), which was present in each epicardial subset. In BAC transgenic zebrafish, cav1 regulatory sequences drove strong expression in ostensibly all epicardial cells and in coronary vascular endothelial cells. Moreover, cav1 mutant zebrafish generated by genome editing showed grossly normal heart development and adult cardiac anatomy, but displayed profound defects in injury-induced cardiomyocyte proliferation and heart regeneration. Our study defines a new platform for the discovery of epicardial lineage markers, genetic tools, and mechanisms of heart regeneration. Deep sequencing of isolated single epicardial cells
Project description:Recent studies indicate that mammals, including humans, maintain some capacity to renew cardiomyocytes throughout postnatal life. Yet, there is little or no significant cardiac muscle regeneration after an injury such as acute myocardial infarction. By contrast, zebrafish efficiently regenerate lost cardiac muscle, providing a model for understanding how natural heart regeneration may be blocked or enhanced. In the absence of lineage-tracing technology applicable to adult zebrafish, the cellular origins of newly regenerated cardiac muscle have remained unclear. Using new genetic fate-mapping approaches, here we identify a population of cardiomyocytes that become activated after resection of the ventricular apex and contribute prominently to cardiac muscle regeneration. Through the use of a transgenic reporter strain, we found that cardiomyocytes throughout the subepicardial ventricular layer trigger expression of the embryonic cardiogenesis gene gata4 within a week of trauma, before expression localizes to proliferating cardiomyocytes surrounding and within the injury site. Cre-recombinase-based lineage-tracing of cells expressing gata4 before evident regeneration, or of cells expressing the contractile gene cmlc2 before injury, each labelled most cardiac muscle in the ensuing regenerate. By optical voltage mapping of surface myocardium in whole ventricles, we found that electrical conduction is re-established between existing and regenerated cardiomyocytes between 2 and 4 weeks post-injury. After injury and prolonged fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibition to arrest cardiac regeneration and enable scar formation, experimental release of the signalling block led to gata4 expression and morphological improvement of the injured ventricular wall without loss of scar tissue. Our results indicate that electrically coupled cardiac muscle regenerates after resection injury, primarily through activation and expansion of cardiomyocyte populations. These findings have implications for promoting regeneration of the injured human heart.
Project description:The human heart's failure to replace ischemia-damaged myocardium with regenerated muscle contributes significantly to the worldwide morbidity and mortality associated with coronary artery disease. Remarkably, certain vertebrate species, including the zebrafish, achieve complete regeneration of amputated or injured myocardium through the proliferation of spared cardiomyocytes. Nonetheless, the genetic and cellular determinants of natural cardiac regeneration remain incompletely characterized. Here, we report that cardiac regeneration in zebrafish relies on Notch signaling. Following amputation of the zebrafish ventricular apex, Notch receptor expression becomes activated specifically in the endocardium and epicardium, but not the myocardium. Using a dominant negative approach, we discovered that suppression of Notch signaling profoundly impairs cardiac regeneration and induces scar formation at the amputation site. We ruled out defects in endocardial activation, epicardial activation, and dedifferentiation of compact myocardial cells as causative for the regenerative failure. Furthermore, coronary endothelial tubes, which we lineage traced from preexisting endothelium in wild-type hearts, formed in the wound despite the myocardial regenerative failure. Quantification of myocardial proliferation in Notch-suppressed hearts revealed a significant decrease in cycling cardiomyocytes, an observation consistent with a noncell autonomous requirement for Notch signaling in cardiomyocyte proliferation. Unexpectedly, hyperactivation of Notch signaling also suppressed cardiomyocyte proliferation and heart regeneration. Taken together, our data uncover the exquisite sensitivity of regenerative cardiomyocyte proliferation to perturbations in Notch signaling.