Protective effects of intercalated disk protein afadin on chronic pressure overload-induced myocardial damage.
ABSTRACT: Adhesive intercellular connections at cardiomyocyte intercalated disks (IDs) support contractile force and maintain structural integrity of the heart muscle. Disturbances of the proteins at IDs deteriorate cardiac function and morphology. An adaptor protein afadin, one of the components of adherens junctions, is expressed ubiquitously including IDs. At present, the precise role of afadin in cardiac physiology or disease is unknown. To explore this, we generated conditional knockout (cKO) mice with cardiomyocyte-targeted deletion of afadin. Afadin cKO mice were born according to the expected Mendelian ratio and have no detectable changes in cardiac phenotype. On the other hand, chronic pressure overload induced by transverse aortic constriction (TAC) caused systolic dysfunction, enhanced fibrogenesis and apoptosis in afadin cKO mice. Afadin deletion increased macrophage infiltration and monocyte chemoattractant protein-1 expression, and suppressed transforming growth factor (TGF) ? receptor signaling early after TAC procedure. Afadin also associated with TGF? receptor I at IDs. Pharmacological antagonist of TGF? receptor I (SB431542) augmented mononuclear infiltration and fibrosis in the hearts of TAC-operated control mice. In conclusion, afadin is a critical molecule for cardiac protection against chronic pressure overload. The beneficial effects are likely to be a result from modulation of TGF? receptor signaling pathways by afadin.
Project description:The mechanisms contributing to heart failure remain incompletely understood. d-dopachrome tautomerase (DDT) is a member of the macrophage migration inhibitory factor family of cytokines and is highly expressed in cardiomyocytes. This study examined the role of cardiomyocyte DDT in the setting of heart failure. Patients with advanced heart failure undergoing transplantation demonstrated decreased cardiac DDT expression. To understand the effect of loss of cardiac DDT in experimental heart failure, cardiomyocyte-specific DDT-KO (DDT-cKO) and littermate control mice underwent surgical transverse aortic constriction (TAC) to induce cardiac pressure overload. DDT-cKO mice developed more rapid cardiac contractile dysfunction, greater cardiac dilatation, and pulmonary edema after TAC. Cardiomyocytes from DDT-cKO mice after TAC had impaired contractility, calcium transients, and reduced expression of the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase. The DDT-cKO hearts also exhibited diminished angiogenesis with reduced capillary density and lower VEGF-A expression after TAC. In pharmacological studies, recombinant DDT (rDDT) activated endothelial cell ERK1/2 and Akt signaling and had proangiogenic effects in vitro. The DDT-cKO hearts also demonstrated more interstitial fibrosis with enhanced collagen and connective tissue growth factor expression after TAC. In cardiac fibroblasts, rDDT had an antifibrotic action by inhibiting TGF-β-induced Smad-2 activation. Thus, endogenous cardiomyocyte DDT has pleiotropic actions that are protective against heart failure.
Project description:Chronic pressure-overload (PO)- induced cardiomyopathy is one of the leading causes of left ventricular (LV) remodeling and heart failure. The role of the ? isoform of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3?) in PO-induced cardiac remodeling is unclear and its downstream molecular targets are largely unknown. To investigate the potential roles of GSK-3?, cardiomyocyte-specific GSK-3? conditional knockout (cKO) and control mice underwent trans-aortic constriction (TAC) or sham surgeries. Cardiac function in the cKOs and littermate controls declined equally up to 2?weeks of TAC. At 4?week, cKO animals retained concentric LV remodeling and showed significantly less decline in contractile function both at systole and diastole, vs. controls which remained same until the end of the study (6?wk). Histological analysis confirmed preservation of LV chamber and protection against TAC-induced cellular hypertrophy in the cKO. Consistent with attenuated hypertrophy, significantly lower level of cardiomyocyte apoptosis was observed in the cKO. Mechanistically, GSK-3? was found to regulate mitochondrial permeability transition pore (mPTP) opening and GSK-3?-deficient mitochondria showed delayed mPTP opening in response to Ca2+ overload. Consistently, overexpression of GSK-3? in cardiomyocytes resulted in elevated Bax expression, increased apoptosis, as well as a reduction of maximum respiration capacity and cell viability. Taken together, we show for the first time that GSK-3? regulates mPTP opening under pathological conditions, likely through Bax overexpression. Genetic ablation of cardiomyocyte GSK-3? protects against chronic PO-induced cardiomyopathy and adverse LV remodeling, and preserves contractile function. Selective inhibition of GSK-3? using isoform-specific inhibitors could be a viable therapeutic strategy to limit PO-induced heart failure.
Project description:An important event in the pathogenesis of heart failure is the development of pathological cardiac hypertrophy. In cultured cardiomyocytes, the transcription factor Gata4 is required for agonist-induced hypertrophy. We hypothesized that, in the intact organism, Gata4 is an important regulator of postnatal heart function and of the hypertrophic response of the heart to pathological stress. To test this hypothesis, we studied mice heterozygous for deletion of the second exon of Gata4 (G4D). At baseline, G4D mice had mild systolic and diastolic dysfunction associated with reduced heart weight and decreased cardiomyocyte number. After transverse aortic constriction (TAC), G4D mice developed overt heart failure and eccentric cardiac hypertrophy, associated with significantly increased fibrosis and cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Inhibition of apoptosis by overexpression of the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor prevented TAC-induced heart failure in G4D mice. Unlike WT-TAC controls, G4D-TAC cardiomyocytes hypertrophied by increasing in length more than width. Gene expression profiling revealed up-regulation of genes associated with apoptosis and fibrosis, including members of the TGF-beta pathway. Our data demonstrate that Gata4 is essential for cardiac function in the postnatal heart. After pressure overload, Gata4 regulates the pattern of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and protects the heart from load-induced failure.
Project description:Induction of the cell cycle is emerging as an intervention to treat heart failure. Here, we tested the hypothesis that enhanced cardiomyocyte renewal in transgenic mice expressing cyclin D2 would be beneficial during hemodynamic overload. We induced pressure overload by transthoracic aortic constriction (TAC) or volume overload by aortocaval shunt in cyclin D2-expressing and WT mice. Although cyclin D2 expression dramatically improved survival following TAC, it did not confer a survival advantage to mice following aortocaval shunt. Cardiac function decreased following TAC in WT mice, but was preserved in cyclin D2-expressing mice. On the other hand, cardiac structure and function were compromised in response to aortocaval shunt in both WT and cyclin D2-expressing mice. The preserved function and improved survival in cyclin D2-expressing mice after TAC was associated with an approximately 50% increase in cardiomyocyte number and exaggerated cardiac hypertrophy, as indicated by increased septum thickness. Aortocaval shunt did not further impact cardiomyocyte number in mice expressing cyclin D2. Following TAC, cyclin D2 expression attenuated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, reduced cardiomyocyte apoptosis, fibrosis, calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II? phosphorylation, brain natriuretic peptide expression, and sustained capillarization. Thus, we show that cyclin D2-induced cardiomyocyte renewal reduced myocardial remodeling and dysfunction after pressure overload but not after volume overload.
Project description:An important event in the pathogenesis of heart failure is the development of pathological cardiac hypertrophy. In cultured cardiac cardiomyocytes, the transcription factor Gata4 is required for agonist-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. We hypothesized that in the intact organism Gata4 is an important regulator of postnatal heart function and of the hypertrophic response of the heart to pathological stress. To test this hypothesis, we studied mice heterozygous for deletion of the second exon of Gata4 (G4D). At baseline, G4D mice had mild systolic and diastolic dysfunction associated with reduced heart weight and decreased cardiomyocyte number. After transverse aortic constriction (TAC), G4D mice developed overt heart failure and eccentric cardiac hypertrophy, associated with significantly increased fibrosis and cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Inhibition of apoptosis by overexpression of the insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor prevented TAC-induced heart failure in G4D mice. Unlike WT-TAC controls, G4D-TAC cardiomyocytes hypertrophied by increasing in length more than width. Gene expression profiling revealed upregulation of genes associated with apoptosis and fibrosis, including members of the TGF? pathway. Our data demonstrate that Gata4 is essential for cardiac function in the postnatal heart. After pressure overload, Gata4 regulates the pattern of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and protects the heart from load-induced failure. Experiment Overall Design: We reasoned that if Gata4 was a crucial regulator of pathways necessary for cardiac hypertrophy, then modest reductions of Gata4 activity should result in an observable cardiac phenotype. To test this hypothesis, we used gene targeted mice that express reduced levels of Gata4. We characterized these mice at baseline and after pressure Experiment Overall Design: overload.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Inflammation is associated with cardiac remodeling and heart failure, but how it is initiated in response to nonischemic interventions in the absence of cell death is not known. We tested the hypothesis that activation of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II ? (CaMKII?) in cardiomyocytes (CMs) in response to pressure overload elicits inflammatory responses leading to adverse remodeling. METHODS:Mice in which CaMKII? was selectively deleted from CMs (cardiac-specific knockout [CKO]) and floxed control mice were subjected to transverse aortic constriction (TAC). The effects of CM-specific CaMKII? deletion on inflammatory gene expression, inflammasome activation, macrophage accumulation, and fibrosis were assessed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, histochemistry, and ventricular remodeling by echocardiography. RESULTS:TAC induced increases in cardiac mRNA levels for proinflammatory chemokines and cytokines in ?3 days, and these responses were significantly blunted when CM CaMKII? was deleted. Apoptotic and necrotic cell death were absent at this time. CMs isolated from TAC hearts mirrored these robust increases in gene expression, which were markedly attenuated in CKO. Priming and activation of the NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing protein 3 inflammasome, assessed by measuring interleukin-1? and NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing protein 3 mRNA levels, caspase-1 activity, and interleukin-18 cleavage, were increased at day 3 after TAC in control hearts and in CMs isolated from these hearts. These responses were dependent on CaMKII? and associated with activation of Nuclear Factor-kappa B and reactive oxygen species. Accumulation of macrophages observed at days 7 to 14 after TAC was diminished in CKO and, by blocking Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 signaling, deletion of CM Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 or inhibition of inflammasome activation. Fibrosis was also attenuated by these interventions and in the CKO heart. Ventricular dilation and contractile dysfunction observed at day 42 after TAC were diminished in the CKO. Inhibition of CaMKII, Nuclear Factor-kappa B, inflammasome, or Monocyte Chemotactic Protein-1 signaling in the first 1 or 2 weeks after TAC decreased remodeling, but inhibition of CaMKII after 2 weeks did not. CONCLUSIONS:Activation of CaMKII? in response to pressure overload triggers inflammatory gene expression and activation of the NOD-like receptor pyrin domain-containing protein 3 inflammasome in CMs. These responses provide signals for macrophage recruitment, fibrosis, and myocardial dysfunction in the heart. Our work suggests the importance of targeting early inflammatory responses induced by CM CaMKII? signaling to prevent progression to heart failure.
Project description:Transforming growth factor-? family cytokines have diverse actions in the maintenance of cardiac homeostasis. Follistatin-like 3 (Fstl3) is an extracellular regulator of certain TGF-? family members, including activin A. The aim of this study was to examine the role of Fstl3 in cardiac hypertrophy. Cardiac myocyte-specific Fstl3 knock-out (KO) mice and control mice were subjected to pressure overload induced by transverse aortic constriction (TAC). Cardiac hypertrophy was assessed by echocardiography and histological and biochemical methods. KO mice showed reduced cardiac hypertrophy, pulmonary congestion, concentric LV wall thickness, LV dilatation, and LV systolic dysfunction after TAC compared with control mice. KO mice displayed attenuated increases in cardiomyocyte cell surface area and interstitial fibrosis following pressure overload. Although activin A was similarly up-regulated in KO and control mice after TAC, a significant increase in Smad2 phosphorylation only occurred in KO mice. Knockdown of Fstl3 in cultured cardiomyocytes inhibited PE-induced cardiac hypertrophy. Conversely, adenovirus-mediated Fstl3 overexpression blocked the inhibitory action of activin A on hypertrophy and Smad2 activation. Transduction with Smad7, a negative regulator of Smad2 signaling, blocked the antihypertrophic actions of activin A stimulation or Fstl3 ablation. These findings identify Fstl3 as a stress-induced regulator of hypertrophy that controls myocyte size via regulation of Smad signaling.
Project description:Pressure overload-induced cardiac stress induces left ventricular hypertrophy driven by increased cardiomyocyte mass. The increased energetic demand and cardiomyocyte size during hypertrophy necessitate increased fuel and oxygen delivery and stimulate angiogenesis in the left ventricular wall. We have previously shown that the transcriptional regulator steroid receptor coactivator-2 (SRC-2) controls activation of several key cardiac transcription factors and that SRC-2 loss results in extensive cardiac transcriptional remodeling. Pressure overload in mice lacking SRC-2 induces an abrogated hypertrophic response and decreases sustained cardiac function, but the cardiomyocyte-specific effects of SRC-2 in these changes are unknown. Here, we report that cardiomyocyte-specific loss of SRC-2 (SRC-2 CKO) results in a blunted hypertrophy accompanied by a rapid, progressive decrease in cardiac function. We found that SRC-2 CKO mice exhibit markedly decreased left ventricular vasculature in response to transverse aortic constriction, corresponding to decreased expression of the angiogenic factor VEGF. Of note, SRC-2 knockdown in cardiomyocytes decreased VEGF expression and secretion to levels sufficient to blunt in vitro tube formation and proliferation of endothelial cells. During pressure overload, both hypertrophic and hypoxic signals can stimulate angiogenesis, both of which stimulated SRC-2 expression in vitro Furthermore, SRC-2 coactivated the transcription factors GATA-binding protein 4 (GATA-4) and hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1? and -2? in response to angiotensin II and hypoxia, respectively, which drive VEGF expression. These results suggest that SRC-2 coordinates cardiomyocyte secretion of VEGF downstream of the two major angiogenic stimuli occurring during pressure overload bridging both hypertrophic and hypoxia-stimulated paracrine signaling.
Project description:Heart failure (HF) remains a major source of morbidity and mortality in the US. The multifunctional Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) has emerged as a critical regulator of cardiac hypertrophy and failure, although the mechanisms remain unclear. Previous studies have established that the cytoskeletal protein ?IV-spectrin coordinates local CaMKII signaling. Here, we sought to determine the role of a spectrin-CaMKII complex in maladaptive remodeling in HF. Chronic pressure overload (6 weeks of transaortic constriction [TAC]) induced a decrease in cardiac function in WT mice but not in animals expressing truncated ?IV-spectrin lacking spectrin-CaMKII interaction (qv3J mice). Underlying the observed differences in function was an unexpected differential regulation of STAT3-related genes in qv3J TAC hearts. In vitro experiments demonstrated that ?IV-spectrin serves as a target for CaMKII phosphorylation, which regulates its stability. Cardiac-specific ?IV-spectrin-KO (?IV-cKO) mice showed STAT3 dysregulation, fibrosis, and decreased cardiac function at baseline, similar to what was observed with TAC in WT mice. STAT3 inhibition restored normal cardiac structure and function in ?IV-cKO and WT TAC hearts. Our studies identify a spectrin-based complex essential for regulation of the cardiac response to chronic pressure overload. We anticipate that strategies targeting the new spectrin-based "statosome" will be effective at suppressing maladaptive remodeling in response to chronic stress.
Project description:The in vivo function status of the ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) in pressure overloaded hearts remains undefined. Cardiotoxicity was observed during proteasome inhibitor chemotherapy, especially in those with preexisting cardiovascular conditions; however, proteasome inhibition (PsmI) was also suggested by some experimental studies as a potential therapeutic strategy to curtail cardiac hypertrophy. Here we used genetic approaches to probe cardiac UPS performance and determine the impact of cardiomyocyte-restricted PsmI (CR-PsmI) on cardiac responses to systolic overload. Transgenic mice expressing an inverse reporter of the UPS (GFPdgn) were subject to transverse aortic constriction (TAC) to probe myocardial UPS performance during systolic overload. Mice with or without moderate CR-PsmI were subject to TAC and temporally characterized for cardiac responses to moderate and severe systolic overload. After moderate TAC (pressure gradient: ~40mmHg), cardiac UPS function was upregulated during the first two weeks but turned to functional insufficiency between 6 and 12weeks as evidenced by the dynamic changes in GFPdgn protein levels, proteasome peptidase activities, and total ubiquitin conjugates. Severe TAC (pressure gradients >60mmHg) led to UPS functional insufficiency within a week. Moderate TAC elicited comparable hypertrophic responses between mice with and without genetic CR-PsmI but caused cardiac malfunction in CR-PsmI mice significantly earlier than those without CR-PsmI. In mice subject to severe TAC, CR-PsmI inhibited cardiac hypertrophy but led to rapidly progressed heart failure and premature death, associated with a pronounced increase in cardiomyocyte death. It is concluded that cardiac UPS function is dynamically altered, with the initial brief upregulation of proteasome function being adaptive; and CR-PsmI facilitates cardiac malfunction during systolic overload.