Neuregulins: protective and reparative growth factors in multiple forms of cardiovascular disease.
ABSTRACT: Neuregulins (NRGs) are protein ligands that act through ErbB receptor tyrosine kinases to regulate tissue morphogenesis, plasticity, and adaptive responses to physiologic needs in multiple tissues, including the heart and circulatory system. The role of NRG/ErbB signaling in cardiovascular biology, and how it responds to physiologic and pathologic stresses is a rapidly evolving field. While initial concepts focused on the role that NRG may play in regulating cardiac myocyte responses, including cell survival, growth, adaptation to stress, and proliferation, emerging data support a broader role for NRGs in the regulation of metabolism, inflammation, and fibrosis in response to injury. The constellation of effects modulated by NRGs may account for the findings that two distinct forms of recombinant NRG-1 have beneficial effects on cardiac function in humans with systolic heart failure. NRG-4 has recently emerged as an adipokine with similar potential to regulate cardiovascular responses to inflammation and injury. Beyond systolic heart failure, NRGs appear to have beneficial effects in diastolic heart failure, prevention of atherosclerosis, preventing adverse effects on diabetes on the heart and vasculature, including atherosclerosis, as well as the cardiac dysfunction associated with sepsis. Collectively, this literature supports the further examination of how this developmentally critical signaling system functions and how it might be leveraged to treat cardiovascular disease.
Project description:Neuregulins (NRGs) comprise a large family of growth factors that stimulate ERBB receptor tyrosine kinases. NRGs and their receptors, ERBBs, have been identified as susceptibility genes for diseases such as schizophrenia (SZ) and bipolar disorder. Recent studies have revealed complex Nrg/Erbb signaling networks that regulate the assembly of neural circuitry, myelination, neurotransmission, and synaptic plasticity. Evidence indicates there is an optimal level of NRG/ERBB signaling in the brain and deviation from it impairs brain functions. NRGs/ERBBs and downstream signaling pathways may provide therapeutic targets for specific neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Neuregulin-1 (NRG-1) is a paracrine factor released by microvascular endothelial cells that has cardioprotective effects in animal models of heart failure. However, circulating NRG-1 has not been studied in human heart disease. We used a novel immunoassay to test whether circulating NRG-1beta is associated with disease severity and clinical outcomes in chronic heart failure. METHODS AND RESULTS:Serum NRG-1beta was quantified in 899 outpatients in the Penn Heart Failure Study, a referral cohort representing a broad spectrum of systolic heart failure. Circulating NRG-1beta was significantly elevated in patients with worse disease severity (median, 6.2 ng/mL for New York Heart Association class IV versus 4.4 ng/mL for class I; P=0.002). In adjusted models, NRG-1beta was independently associated with an increased risk of death or cardiac transplantation over a median follow-up of 2.4 years (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.58; 95% confidence interval, 1.04 to 2.39; P=0.03 comparing fourth versus first NRG-1beta quartile). Associations with outcome differed by heart failure cause and symptom severity, with the strongest associations observed in patients with ischemic cardiomyopathy (interaction P=0.008) and New York Heart Association class III/IV symptoms (interaction P=0.01). These findings were all independent of brain natriuretic peptide, and assessment of NRG-1beta and brain natriuretic peptide jointly provided better risk stratification than each biomarker individually in patients with ischemic or New York Heart Association class III/IV heart failure. CONCLUSIONS:Circulating NRG-1beta is independently associated with heart failure severity and risk of death or cardiac transplantation. These findings support a role for NRG-1/ErbB signaling in human heart failure and identify serum NRG-1beta as a novel biomarker that may have clinical applications.
Project description:Immune activation in chronic systolic heart failure (HF) correlates with disease severity and prognosis. Recombinant neuregulin-1 (rNRG-1) is being developed as a possible therapy for HF, based on the activation of ERBB receptors in cardiac cells. Work in animal models of HF led us to hypothesize that there may be direct effects of NRG-1 on immune system activation and inflammation. We investigated the expression of ERBB receptors and the effect of rNRG-1 isoform glial growth factor 2 (GGF2) in subpopulations of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PB MNCs) in subjects with HF. We found that human monocytes express both ERBB2 and ERBB3 receptors, with high interindividual variability among subjects. Monocyte surface ERBB3 and TNF-? mRNA expression were inversely correlated in subjects with HF but not in human subjects without HF. GGF2 activation of ERBB signaling ex vivo inhibited LPS-induced TNF-? production, specifically in the CD14lowCD16+ population of monocytes in a phosphoinositide 3-kinase-dependent manner. GGF2 suppression of TNF-? correlated directly with the expression of ERBB3. In vivo, a single dose of intravenous GGF2 reduced TNF-? expression in PB MNCs of HF subjects participating in a phase I safety study of GGF2. These results support a role for ERBB3 signaling in the regulation of TNF-? production from CD14lowCD16+ monocytes and a need for further investigation into the clinical significance of NRG-1/ERBB signaling as a modulator of immune system function.NEW & NOTEWORTHY This study identified a novel role of neuregulin-1 (NRG-1)/ERBB signaling in the control of proinflammatory activation of monocytes. These results further improve our fundamental understanding of cardioprotective effects of NRG-1 in patients with heart failure.
Project description:The beta isoform of Neuregulin-1 (NRG-1?), along with its receptors (ErbB2-4), is required for cardiac development. NRG-1?, as well as the ErbB2 and ErbB4 receptors, is also essential for maintenance of adult heart function. These observations have led to its evaluation as a therapeutic for heart failure. Animal studies and ongoing clinical trials have demonstrated beneficial effects of two forms of recombinant NRG-1? on cardiac function. In addition to the possible role for recombinant NRG-1?s as heart failure therapies, endogenous NRG-1?/ErbB signaling appears to play a role in restoring cardiac function after injury. The potential mechanisms by which NRG-1? may act as both a therapy and a mediator of reverse remodeling remain incompletely understood. In addition to direct effects on cardiac myocytes NRG-1? acts on the vasculature, interstitium, cardiac fibroblasts, and hematopoietic and immune cells, which, collectively, may contribute to NRG-1?'s role in maintaining cardiac structure and function, as well as mediating reverse remodeling.
Project description:Schwann cell dedifferentiation and proliferation is a prerequisite to axonal regeneration in the injured peripheral nervous system. The neuregulin (NRG) family of growth and differentiation factors may play a particularly important role in this process, because these axon-associated molecules are potent Schwann cell mitogens and differentiation factors in vitro. We have examined Schwann cell DNA synthesis and the expression of NRGs and their receptors, the erbB membrane tyrosine kinases, in rat sciatic nerve, sensory ganglia, and spinal cord 0-30 d postaxotomy. Analysis of NRG cDNAs from these tissues revealed several novel splice variants and showed that cells endogenous to injured nerve express NRG mRNAs. A selective induction of mRNAs encoding the glial growth factor (GGF) subfamily of NRGs occurs in nerve beginning 3 d postaxotomy and thus coincides with the onset of Schwann cell DNA synthesis. In later stages of Wallerian degeneration, however, Schwann cell mitogenesis markedly decreases, whereas elevated GGF expression persists. Of the four known erbB kinases, Schwann cells express both erbB2 and erbB3 receptors over the entire interval studied. Expression of erbB2 and erbB3 is coordinately induced in response to axotomy, indicating that Schwann cell responses to NRGs may be modulated by changes in receptor density. Neuregulin (including transmembrane precursors) and erbB protein are associated with Schwann cells postaxotomy. Thus, in contrast to the concept of NRGs as axon-associated mitogens, our findings suggest that NRGs produced by Schwann cells themselves may be partially responsible for Schwann cell proliferation during Wallerian degeneration, probably acting via autocrine or paracrine mechanisms.
Project description:The neuregulins (NRGs) represent a large family of membrane-anchored growth factors, whose deregulation may contribute to the pathogenesis of several tumors. In fact, targeting of NRG-activated pathways has demonstrated clinical benefit. To improve the efficacy of anti-NRG therapies, it is essential to gain insights into the regions of NRGs that favor their pro-oncogenic properties. Here, we have addressed the protumorigenic impact of different NRG domains. To do this, deletion mutants affecting different NRG domains were expressed in 293 and MCF7 cells. Of the five forms studied, only the wild-type and a mutant lacking the Ig-like domain (NRG?Ig ) were properly sorted to the plasma membrane. Both forms were released as soluble forms to the culture media. However, the mutant NRG?Ig failed to efficiently activate HER2 and HER3 receptors, signaling pathways, and cell proliferation when compared to wild-type NRG. Treatment with trastuzumab, a humanized antibody used in the breast cancer clinic, inhibited the constitutive activation of HER2, HER3, and downstream signaling in MCF7 cells constitutively expressing wild-type NRG. In contrast, this treatment had a marginal effect on MCF7-NRG?Ig cells. This study demonstrates that the Ig-like region of NRGs exerts an important role in their capability to activate ErbB/HER receptors and mitogenic responses. Strategies aimed at targeting NRGs should consider that fact to improve neutralization of the pro-oncogenic properties of NRGs.
Project description:The recently isolated second family of neuregulins, NRG2, shares its primary receptors, ErbB-3 and ErbB-4, and induction of mammary cell differentiation with NRG1 isoforms, suggesting functional redundancy of the two growth factor families. To address this possibility, we analyzed receptor specificity of NRGs by using an engineered cellular system. The activity of isoform-specific but partly overlapping patterns of specificities that collectively activate all eight ligand-stimulatable ErbB dimers was revealed. Specifically, NRG2-alpha [corrected], like NRG1-beta [corrected], emerges as a narrow-specificity ligand, whereas NRG2-beta [corrected] is a pan-ErbB ligand that binds with different affinities to all receptor combinations, including those containing ErbB-1, but excluding homodimers of ErbB-2. The latter protein, however, displayed cooperativity with the direct NRG receptors. Apparently, signaling by all NRGs is funneled through the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK). However, the duration and potency of MAPK activation depend on the identity of the stimulatory ligand-receptor ternary complex. We conclude that the NRG-ErbB network represents a complex and nonredundant machinery developed for fine-tuning of signal transduction.
Project description:Endothelial progenitor cells (EPCs) are mobilized into the vascular space and home to damaged tissues, where they promote repair in part through a process of angiogenesis. Neuregulins (NRGs) are ligands in the epidermal growth factor family that signal through type I receptor tyrosine kinases in the erbB family (erbB2, erbB3, and erbB4) and regulate endothelial cell biology, promoting angiogenesis. Stimuli such as ischemia and exercise that promote EPC mobilization also induce cleavage and release of transmembrane NRG from cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMECs). We hypothesized that NRG/erbB signaling may regulate EPC biology. Using an embryonic (e)EPC cell line that homes to and repairs injured myocardium, we were able to detect erbB2 and erbB3 transcripts. Identical receptor expression was found in EPCs isolated from rat bone marrow and human whole blood. NRG treatment of eEPCs induces phosphorylation of kinases including Akt, GSK-3?, and Erk1/2 and the nuclear accumulation and transcriptional activation of ?-catenin. NRG does not induce eEPC proliferation or migration but does protect eEPCs against serum deprivation-induced apoptosis. These results suggest a role for tissue-derived NRG in the regulation of EPC survival.
Project description:Grb2-associated binder (Gab) family of scaffolding adaptor proteins coordinate signaling cascades downstream of growth factor and cytokine receptors. In the heart, among EGF family members, neuregulin-1beta (NRG-1beta, a paracrine factor produced from endothelium) induced remarkable tyrosine phosphorylation of Gab1 and Gab2 via erythroblastic leukemia viral oncogene (ErbB) receptors. We examined the role of Gab family proteins in NRG-1beta/ErbB-mediated signal in the heart by creating cardiomyocyte-specific Gab1/Gab2 double knockout mice (DKO mice). Although DKO mice were viable, they exhibited marked ventricular dilatation and reduced contractility with aging. DKO mice showed high mortality after birth because of heart failure. In addition, we noticed remarkable endocardial fibroelastosis and increase of abnormally dilated vessels in the ventricles of DKO mice. NRG-1beta induced activation of both ERK and AKT in the hearts of control mice but not in those of DKO mice. Using DNA microarray analysis, we found that stimulation with NRG-1beta upregulated expression of an endothelium-stabilizing factor, angiopoietin 1, in the hearts of control mice but not in those of DKO mice, which accounted for the pathological abnormalities in the DKO hearts. Taken together, our observations indicated that in the NRG-1beta/ErbB signaling, Gab1 and Gab2 of the myocardium are essential for both maintenance of myocardial function and stabilization of cardiac capillary and endocardial endothelium in the postnatal heart.
Project description:The ErbB famliy of erceptor tyrosine kinases and their ligands, neuregulins(NRGs), are crtical involved not only in cardiac development but also in the maintenace of structural and functional integrity of the adult heart. rhNRG-1(recombinant human NRG-1) Improves cardiac function and sruvival in models of ischemic, dilated, and viral cardiomyopathy with the ErbB-activation. But the mechanism is still unknown Keywords: Genechips Overall design: Three individual samples in each group (vehicle, rhNRG-1 treated or sham operated rats) were hybridized with 9 GeneChip® Rat Genome 230 2.0 Arrays (Affymetrix) separately.A total of 1950 genes (at least a 1.5-fold change in expression level compared with any another groups, all p <0.05),were selected and used as input for hierarchical clustering, a computational method that groups experimental samples according to similarity in patterns of gene expression across a large number of genes.