Patients with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) present a high incidence of atherosclerosis, which contributes significantly to morbidity and mortality in this autoimmune disease. An impaired balance between regulatory (Treg) and follicular helper (Tfh) CD4+ T cells is shared by both diseases. However, whether there are common mechanisms of CD4+ T cell dysregulation between SLE and atherosclerosis remains unclear. Pre-B cell leukemia transcription factor 1 isoform d (Pbx1d) is a lupus susceptibility gene that regulates Tfh cell expansion and Treg cell homeostasis. Here, we investigated the role of T cells overexpressing Pbx1d in low-density lipoprotein receptor–deficient (Ldlr–/–) mice fed with a high-fat diet, an experimental model for atherosclerosis. Pbx1d-transgenic T cells exacerbated some phenotypes of atherosclerosis, which were associated with higher autoantibody production, increased Tfh cell frequency, and impaired Treg cell regulation, in Ldlr–/– mice as compared with control T cells. In addition, we showed that dyslipidemia and Pbx1d-transgenic expression independently impaired the differentiation and function of Treg cells in vitro, suggesting a gene/environment additive effect. Thus, our results suggest that the combination of Pbx1d expression in T cells and dyslipidemia exacerbates both atherosclerosis and autoimmunity, at least in part through a dysregulation of Treg cell homeostasis.
Wei Li, Ahmed S. Elshikha, Caleb Cornaby, Xiangyu Teng, Georges Abboud, Josephine Brown, Xueyang Zou, Leilani Zeumer-Spataro, Brian Robusto, Seung-Chul Choi, Kristianna Fredenburg, Amy Major, Laurence Morel
The sympathetic nervous system plays an important role in the occurrence of ventricular tachycardia (VT). Many patients, however, experience VT despite maximal doses of beta blocker therapy, possibly due to the effects of sympathetic cotransmitters such as neuropeptide Y (NPY). The purpose of this study was to determine, in a porcine model, whether propranolol at doses higher than clinically recommended could block ventricular electrophysiological effects of sympathoexcitation via stellate ganglia stimulation, and if any residual effects are mediated by NPY. Greater release of cardiac NPY was observed at higher sympathetic stimulation frequencies (10 and 20 vs. 4 Hz). Despite treatment with even higher doses of propranolol (1.0 mg/kg), electrophysiological effects of sympathetic stimulation remained, with residual shortening of activation recovery interval (ARI), a surrogate of action potential duration (APD). Adjuvant treatment with the NPY Y1 receptor antagonist BIBO 3304, however, reduced these electrophysiological effects while augmenting inotropy. These data demonstrate that high-dose beta blocker therapy is insufficient to block electrophysiological effects of sympathoexcitation, and a portion of these electrical effects in vivo are mediated by NPY. Y1 receptor blockade may represent a promising adjuvant therapy to beta-adrenergic receptor blockade.
Jonathan D. Hoang, Siamak Salavatian, Naoko Yamaguchi, Mohammed Amer Swid, Marmar Vaseghi
The mortality of patients suffering from acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is linearly related to the infarct size. As regeneration of cardiomyocytes from cardiac progenitor cells is minimal in the mammalian adult heart, we have explored a new therapeutic approach which leverages the capacity of nanomaterials to release chemicals over time to promote myocardial protection and infarct size reduction. Initial screening identified two chemicals, FGF1 and CHIR99021 (a Wnt1 agonist/GSK-3ß antagonist) which synergistically enhance cardiomyocyte cell cycle in vitro. Poly-lactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA) nanoparticles (NP) formulated with CHIR99021 and FGF1 (CHIR+FGF1-NPs) provided an effective slow release system for up to 4 weeks. Intramyocardial injection of CHIR+FGF1-NPs enabled myocardial protection via reducing infarct size by 20% to 30% in mouse or pig models of postinfarction LV remodeling. This LV structural improvement was accompanied by a significant preservation of cardiac contractile function. Further investigation revealed that CHIR+FGF1-NPs resulted in a significant reduction of cardiomyocyte apoptosis and increase of angiogenesis. Thus, using a combination of chemicals and a NP-based prolonged release system that work synergistically, this study demonstrates a novel therapy for LV infarct size reduction in hearts with acute myocardial infarction.
Chengming Fan, Yasin Oduk, Meng Zhao, Xi Lou, Yawen Tang, Danielle Pretorius, Mani T. Valarmathi, Gregory P. Walcott, Jingfu Yang, Philippe Menasche, Prasanna Krishnamurthy, Wuqiang Zhu, Jianyi Zhang
In pulmonary hypertension and certain forms of congenital heart disease, ventricular pressure overload manifests at birth and is an obligate hemodynamic abnormality that stimulates myocardial fibrosis which leads to ventricular dysfunction and poor clinical outcomes. Thus, an attractive strategy is to attenuate the myocardial fibrosis to help preserve ventricular function. Here, by analyzing RNA-sequencing databases and comparing the transcript and protein levels of fibrillar collagen in wild-type and global knockout mice, we found that SLIT3 was predominantly present in fibrillar collagen-producing cells and that SLIT3 deficiency attenuated collagen production in the heart and other non-neuronal tissues. We then performed transverse aortic constriction or pulmonary artery banding in wild-type and knockout mice to induce left and right ventricular pressure overload, respectively. We discovered that SLIT3 deficiency abrogates fibrotic and hypertrophic changes and promotes long-term ventricular function and overall survival in both left and right ventricular pressure overload. Furthermore, we found that SLIT3 stimulated fibroblast activity and fibrillar collagen production, which coincided with the transcription and nuclear localization of the mechanotransducer YAP1. These results indicate that SLIT3 is important for regulating fibroblast activity and fibrillar collagen synthesis in an autocrine manner, making it a potential therapeutic target for fibrotic diseases, especially myocardial fibrosis and adverse remodeling induced by persistent afterload elevation.
Lianghui Gong, Shuyun Wang, Li Shen, Catherine Liu, Mena Shenouda, Baolei Li, Xiaoxiao Liu, John Shaw, Alan Wineman, Yifeng Yang, Dingding Xiong, Anne Eichmann, Sylvia M. Evans, Stephen J. Weiss, Ming-Sing Si
Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (AC) is a genetic disease causing arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death with only symptomatic therapy available at present. Mutations of desmosomal proteins, including desmoglein-2 (Dsg2) and plakoglobin (Pg), are the major cause of AC and have been shown to lead to impaired gap junction function. Recent data indicated the involvement of anti-Dsg2 autoantibodies in AC pathogenesis. We applied a peptide to stabilize Dsg2 binding similar to a translational approach to pemphigus, which is caused by anti-desmoglein autoantibodies. We provide evidence that stabilization of Dsg2 binding by a linking peptide (Dsg2-LP) is efficient to rescue arrhythmia in an AC mouse model immediately upon perfusion. Dsg2-LP, designed to cross-link Dsg2 molecules in proximity to the known binding pocket, stabilized Dsg2-mediated interactions on the surface of living cardiomyocytes as revealed by atomic force microscopy and induced Dsg2 oligomerization. Moreover, Dsg2-LP rescued disrupted cohesion induced by siRNA-mediated Pg or Dsg2 depletion or l-tryptophan, which was applied to impair overall cadherin binding. Dsg2-LP rescued connexin-43 mislocalization and conduction irregularities in response to impaired cardiomyocyte cohesion. These results demonstrate that stabilization of Dsg2 binding by Dsg2-LP can serve as a novel approach to treat arrhythmia in patients with AC.
Camilla Schinner, Bernd Markus Erber, Sunil Yeruva, Angela Schlipp, Vera Rötzer, Ellen Kempf, Sebastian Kant, Rudolf E. Leube, Thomas D. Mueller, Jens Waschke
Doxorubicin (DOX), a chemotherapeutic agent, induces a cardiotoxicity referred to as doxorubicin-induced cardiomyopathy (DIC). This cardiotoxicity often limits chemotherapy for malignancies and is associated with poor prognosis. However, the molecular mechanism underlying this cardiotoxicity is yet to be fully elucidated. Here, we show that DOX downregulated glutathione peroxidase 4 (GPx4) and induced excessive lipid peroxidation through DOX-Fe2+ complex in mitochondria, leading to mitochondria-dependent ferroptosis; we also show that mitochondria-dependent ferroptosis is a major cause of DOX cardiotoxicity. In DIC mice, the left ventricular ejection fraction was significantly impaired, and fibrosis and TUNEL+ cells were induced at day 14. Additionally, GPx4, an endogenous regulator of ferroptosis, was downregulated, accompanied by the accumulation of lipid peroxides, especially in mitochondria. These cardiac impairments were ameliorated in GPx4 Tg mice and exacerbated in GPx4 heterodeletion mice. In cultured cardiomyocytes, GPx4 overexpression or iron chelation targeting Fe2+ in mitochondria prevented DOX-induced ferroptosis, demonstrating that DOX triggered ferroptosis in mitochondria. Furthermore, concomitant inhibition of ferroptosis and apoptosis with ferrostatin-1 and zVAD-FMK fully prevented DOX-induced cardiomyocyte death. Our findings suggest that mitochondria-dependent ferroptosis plays a key role in progression of DIC and that ferroptosis is the major form of regulated cell death in DOX cardiotoxicity.
Tomonori Tadokoro, Masataka Ikeda, Tomomi Ide, Hiroko Deguchi, Soichiro Ikeda, Kosuke Okabe, Akihito Ishikita, Shouji Matsushima, Tomoko Koumura, Ken-ichi Yamada, Hirotaka Imai, Hiroyuki Tsutsui
B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is secreted by ventricular cardiomyocytes in response to various types of cardiac stress and has been used as a heart failure marker. In septic patients, increased BNP suggests poor prognosis; however, no causal link has been established. Among various effects, BNP decreases systemic vascular resistance and increases natriuresis that leads to lower blood pressure. We previously observed that JNK inhibition corrects cardiac dysfunction and suppresses cardiac BNP mRNA in endotoxemia. In this study, we investigated the transcriptional mechanism that regulates BNP expression and the involvement of plasma BNP in causing septic hypotension. Our in vitro and in vivo findings confirmed that activation of JNK signaling increases BNP expression in sepsis via direct binding of c-Jun in activating protein–1 (AP-1) regulatory elements of the Nppb promoter. Accordingly, genetic ablation of BNP, as well as treatment with a potentially novel neutralizing anti-BNP monoclonal antibody (19B3) or suppression of its expression via administration of JNK inhibitor SP600125 improved cardiac output, stabilized blood pressure, and improved survival in mice with polymicrobial sepsis. Therefore, inhibition of JNK signaling or BNP in sepsis appears to stabilize blood pressure and improve survival.
Matthew Hoffman, Ioannis D. Kyriazis, Alexandra Dimitriou, Santosh K. Mishra, Walter J. Koch, Konstantinos Drosatos
Atrial fibrillation (AF) alters atrial-cardiomyocyte (ACM) Ca2+-handling, promoting ectopic-beat formation. Here, we examined the effects of AF-associated remodeling on Ca2+-related action-potential (AP) dynamics and consequences for AF-susceptibility. AF was maintained electrically (x1 week) in dogs by right-atrial (RA) tachypacing. ACMs isolated from AF-dogs showed increased Ca2+-release refractoriness, spontaneous Ca2+-spark frequency and cycle-length (CL) threshold for Ca2+ and APD alternans versus controls. Similarly, AF increased the in-situ CL-threshold for Ca2+/APD-alternans and spatial dispersion in Ca2+-release recovery kinetics, leading to spatially-discordant alternans associated with reentrant rotor formation and susceptibility to AF induction/maintenance. The clinically-available agent dantrolene reduced Ca2+-leak and CL-threshold for Ca2+/APD-alternans in both ACMs and AF-dog RA, while suppressing AF-susceptibility; caffeine increased Ca2+-leak, CL-threshold for Ca2+/APD-alternans in control-dog ACMs and RA-tissues. In vivo, the atrial repolarization alternans CL-threshold was increased in AF vs control, as was AF-vulnerability. Intravenous dantrolene restored repolarization alternans-threshold and reduced AF-vulnerability. Immunoblots showed significantly reduced expression of total and phosphorylated ryanodine-receptors and calsequestrin in AF, along with unchanged phospholamban/SERCA expression. Thus, in addition to promoting spontaneous ectopy, AF-induced Ca2+-handling abnormalities favor AF-occurrence by enhancing vulnerability to repolarization-alternans, thereby promoting the initiation and maintenance of reentrant activity; the clinically-available compound dantrolene provides a lead-molecule to target this mechanism.
Tao Liu, Feng Xiong, Xiao-yan Qi, Jiening Xiao, Louis Villeneuve, Issam Abu-Taha, Dobromir Dobrev, Congxin Huang, Stanley Nattel
Pressure overload (PO) cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure are associated with generalized insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia, which may exacerbate left ventricular (LV) remodeling. While PO activates insulin receptor tyrosine kinase activity that is transduced by insulin receptor substrate 1 (IRS1), the present study tested the hypothesis that IRS1 and IRS2 have divergent effects on PO-induced LV remodeling. We therefore subjected mice with cardiomyocyte-restricted deficiency of IRS1 (CIRS1KO) or IRS2 (CIRS2KO) to PO induced by transverse aortic constriction (TAC). In WT mice, TAC-induced LV hypertrophy was associated with hyperactivation of IRS1 and Akt1, but not IRS2 and Akt2. CIRS1KO hearts were resistant to cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure in concert with attenuated Akt1 activation. In contrast, CIRS2KO hearts following TAC developed more severe LV dysfunction than WT controls, and this was prevented by haploinsufficiency of Akt1. Failing human hearts exhibited isoform-specific IRS1 and Akt1 activation, while IRS2 and Akt2 activation were unchanged. Kinomic profiling identified IRS1 as a potential regulator of cardioprotective protein kinase G–mediated signaling. In addition, gene expression profiling revealed that IRS1 signaling may promote a proinflammatory response following PO. Together, these data identify IRS1 and Akt1 as critical signaling nodes that mediate LV remodeling in both mice and humans.
Christian Riehle, Eric T. Weatherford, Adam R. Wende, Bharat P. Jaishy, Alec W. Seei, Nicholas S. McCarty, Monika Rech, Qian Shi, Gopireddy R. Reddy, William J. Kutschke, Karen Oliveira, Karla Maria Pires, Joshua C. Anderson, Nikolaos A. Diakos, Robert M. Weiss, Morris F. White, Stavros G. Drakos, Yang K. Xiang, E. Dale Abel
Heart failure (HF) remains a grievous illness with poor prognosis even with optimal care. The apelin receptor (APJ) counteracts the pressor effect of angiotensin II, attenuates ischemic injury and has the potential to be a novel target to treat HF. Intravenous administration of apelin improves cardiac function acutely in HF patients. However, its short half-life restricts its use to infusion therapy. To identify a longer acting APJ agonist, we conducted a medicinal chemistry campaign leading to the discovery of potent small-molecule APJ agonists with comparable activity to apelin by mimicking the C-terminal portion of apelin-13. Acute infusion increased systolic function and reduced systemic vascular resistance in two rat models of impaired cardiac function. Similar results were obtained in an anesthetized but not a conscious canine HF model. Chronic oral dosing in a rat myocardial infarction model reduced myocardial collagen content and improved diastolic function to a similar extent as losartan, a RAS antagonist standard of care therapy, but lacked additivity with co-administration. Collectively, this work demonstrates the feasibility of developing clinical viable potent small molecule agonists that mimic the endogenous APJ ligand with more favorable drug-like properties and highlight potential limitations for APJ agonism for this indication.
Brandon Ason, Yinhong Chen, Qi Guo, Kimberly M Hoagland, Ray W. Chui, Mark Fielden, Weston Sutherland, Rhonda Chen, Ying Zhang, Shirley Mihardja, Xiaochuan Ma, Xun Li, Yaping Sun, Dongming Liu, Khanh Nguyen, Jinghong Wang, Ning Li, Sridharan Rajamani, Yusheng Qu, BaoXi Gao, Andrea Boden, Vishnu Chintalgattu, Jim R. Turk, Joyce C. Y. Chan, Liaoyuan A. Hu, Paul Dransfield, Jonathan B. Houze, Jing Man Wong, Ji Ma, Vatee Pattaropong, Murielle M. Veniant, Hugo M Vargas, Gayathri Swaminath, Aarif Khakoo
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