First published July 23, 2019 - More info
Cardiac pressure overload (for example due to aortic stenosis) induces irreversible myocardial dysfunction, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis in patients. In contrast to adult, neonatal mice can efficiently regenerate the heart after injury in the first week after birth. To decipher whether insufficient cardiac regeneration contributes to the progression of pressure overload dependent disease, we established a transverse aortic constriction protocol in neonatal mice (nTAC). nTAC in the non-regenerative stage (at postnatal day P7) induced cardiac dysfunction, myocardial fibrosis and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. In contrast, nTAC in the regenerative stage (at P1) largely prevented these maladaptive responses and was in particular associated with enhanced myocardial angiogenesis and increased cardiomyocyte proliferation, which both supported adaptation during nTAC. A comparative transcriptomic analysis between hearts after regenerative versus non-regenerative nTAC suggested the transcription factor GATA4 as master regulator of the regenerative gene-program. Indeed, cardiomyocyte specific deletion of GATA4 converted the regenerative nTAC into a non-regenerative, maladaptive response. Our new nTAC model can be used to identify mediators of adaptation during pressure overload and to discover novel potential therapeutic strategies.