bims-cesiha Biomed News
on Cell signalling in the heart
Issue of 2021‒02‒21
thirty-five papers selected by
Danae Angelidaki
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

  1. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 630421
    Chen X, Hu G, Wang Y, Li C, Zhang F.
      Cardiac energy homeostasis is strictly controlled by the mitochondrial complex-mediated respiration. In the heart, mitochondrial complex I is highly susceptible to functional and structural destroy after ischemia/reperfusion (I/R), thereby contributing to myocardial energy insufficiency and cardiomyocyte death. Fas-activated serine/threonine kinase (FASTK) is recently recognized as a key modulator of mitochondrial gene expression and respiration. However, the role of FASTK in cardiac I/R process is undetermined. Here, we show that FASTK expression was down-regulated in the post-I/R heart. The reactive oxygen species scavenger N-acetyl-L-cysteine reversed I/R-induced FASTK down-regulation. Genetic deletion of FASTK exacerbated I/R-induced cardiac dysfunction, enlarged myocardial infarct size, and increased cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Compared with the wild type control, the FASTK deficient heart exhibited a lower mRNA expression of NADH dehydrogenase subunit-6 (MTND6, a mitochondrial gene encoding a subunit of complex I) and was more vulnerable to I/R-associated complex I inactivation. Replenishment of FASTK expression via adenovirus-mediated gene delivery restored mitochondrial complex I activity and ameliorated cardiomyocyte death induced by I/R, whereas these beneficial effects were blocked by the co-treatment with rotenone, a specific complex I inhibitor. in vivo experiments further confirmed that cardiac overexpression of FASTK ameliorated I/R-related MTND6 down-regulation and mitochondrial complex I inactivation, thereby protecting the heart against I/R injury. Collectively, these data for the first time identify that the down-regulation of FASTK is a direct culprit behind the loss of mitochondrial complex I functional integrity and cardiac injury induced by I/R process. Targeting FASTK might be a promising and effective strategy for MI/R intervention.
    Keywords:  FASTK; MTND6; complex I; ischemia/reperfusion; mitochondrion
  2. Circulation. 2021 Feb 17.
    Umapathi P, Banerjee PS, Zachara NE, Abrol N, Wang Q, Mesubi OO, Luczak ED, Wu Y, Granger JM, Wei AC, Reyes Gaido OE, Florea L, Talbot CC, Hart GW, Anderson ME.
      Background: Heart failure is a leading cause of death worldwide and is associated with the rising prevalence of obesity, hypertension and diabetes. O-GlcNAcylation is a post-translational modification of intracellular proteins and serves as a metabolic rheostat for cellular stress. The total levels of O-GlcNAcylation are determined by nutrient and metabolic flux, in addition to the net activity of two enzymes, O-GlcNAc transferase (OGT) and O-GlcNAcase (OGA). Failing myocardium is marked by increased O-GlcNAcylation, but it is unknown if excessive O-GlcNAcylation contributes to cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Methods: We developed two new transgenic mouse models with myocardial overexpression of OGT and OGA to control O-GlcNAcylation independent of pathological stress. Results: We found that OGT transgenic hearts showed increased O-GlcNAcylation, and developed severe dilated cardiomyopathy, ventricular arrhythmias and premature death. In contrast, OGA transgenic hearts had lower O-GlcNAcylation but identical cardiac function to wild type littermate controls. Additionally, OGA transgenic hearts were resistant to pathological stress induced by pressure overload with attenuated myocardial O-GlcNAcylation levels after stress and decreased pathological hypertrophy compared to wild type controls. Interbreeding OGT with OGA transgenic mice rescued cardiomyopathy and premature death, despite persistent elevation of myocardial OGT. Transcriptomic and functional studies revealed disrupted mitochondrial energetics with impairment of complex I activity in hearts from OGT transgenic mice. Complex I activity was rescued by OGA transgenic interbreeding, suggesting an important role for mitochondrial complex I in O-GlcNAc mediated cardiac pathology. Conclusions: Our data provide evidence that excessive O-GlcNAcylation causes cardiomyopathy, at least in part, due to defective energetics. Enhanced OGA activity is well tolerated and attenuation of O-GlcNAcylation is beneficial against pressure overload induced pathologic remodeling and heart failure. These findings suggest attenuation of excessive O-GlcNAcylation may represent a novel therapeutic approach for cardiomyopathy.
    Keywords:  Dilated cardiomyopathy; O-GlcNAcylation; mitochondrial energetics; mouse model
  3. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Feb 12. pii: S0891-5849(21)00063-0. [Epub ahead of print]
    Meeran MFN, Laham F, Azimullah S, Sharma C, Al Kaabi AJ, Tariq S, Adeghate E, Goyal SN, Ojha S.
      The downregulation of cannabinoid type-2 receptors (CB2R) have been reported in numerous diseases including cardiovascular diseases (CVDs). The activation of CB2R has been recently emerged as an important therapeutic target to mitigate myocardial injury. We examined whether CB2R activation can protect against isoproterenol (ISO)-induced myocardial injury (MI) in rats. In the present study, we investigated the cardioprotective effect of β-caryophyllene (BCP), a naturally occurring dietary cannabinoid in rat model of MI. Rats were pre- and co-treated with BCP (50 mg/kg, orally) twice daily for 10 days along with subcutaneous injection of ISO (85 mg/kg) at an interval of 24 h for two days (9th and 10th days). AM630 (1 mg/kg), a CB2 receptor antagonist, was injected intraperitoneal as a pharmacological challenge prior to BCP treatment to reveal CB2R-mediated cardioprotective mechanisms of BCP. Desensitization of beta-adrenergic receptor (β-AR) signaling, receptor phosphorylation and recruitment of adapter β-arrestins were observed in ISO-induced MI in rats. ISO injections caused impaired cardiac function, elevated the levels of serum cardiac marker enzymes, and enhanced oxidative stress markers along with altered PI3K/Akt and NrF2/Keap1/HO-1 signaling pathways. ISO also promoted lysosomal dysfunction along with activation of NLRP3 inflammasomes and TLR4-NFκB/MAPK signaling and triggered rise in proinflammatory cytokines. There was a concomitant mitochondrial dysfunction followed by the activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-mediated Hippo signaling and intrinsic pathway of apoptosis as well as altered autophagic flux/mTOR signaling was observed in ISO-induced MI. Furthermore, ISO also triggered dyslipidemia evidenced by altered lipids, lipoproteins and lipid marker enzymes along with changes in ionic homeostasis malfunction. IHowever, treatment with BCP resulted in significant protective effects on all biochemical and molecular parameters analyzed. The cardioprotective effects were further strengthened by preservation of cardiomyocytes and cell organelles as observed in histopathological and ultrastructural studies. Interestingly, treatment with AM630, a CB2R antagonist was observed to abrogate the protective effects of BCP on the biochemical and molecular parameters except hyperlipidemia and ionic homeostasis in ISO-induced MI in rats. The present study findings demonstrate that BCP possess the potential to protect myocardium against ISO-induced MI in a CB2-dependent and independent manner.
    Keywords:  Catecholamines; Isoproterenol; Myocardial injury; Natural product; Phytochemical
  4. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2021 ;9 629932
    Liu S, Sun WC, Zhang YL, Lin QY, Liao JW, Song GR, Ma XL, Li HH, Zhang B.
      Pressure overload-induced hypertrophic remodeling is a critical pathological process leading to heart failure (HF). Suppressor of cytokine signaling-3 (SOCS3) has been demonstrated to protect against cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction, but its mechanisms are largely unknown. Using primary cardiomyocytes and cardiac-specific SOCS3 knockout (SOCS3cko) or overexpression mice, we demonstrated that modulation of SOCS3 level influenced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, apoptosis and cardiac dysfunction induced by hypertrophic stimuli. We found that glucose regulatory protein 78 (GRP78) was a direct target of SOCS3, and that overexpression of SOCS3 inhibited cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and apoptosis through promoting proteasomal degradation of GRP78, thereby inhibiting activation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and mitophagy in the heart. Thus, our results uncover SOCS3-GRP78-mediated ER stress as a novel mechanism in the transition from cardiac hypertrophy to HF induced by sustained pressure overload, and suggest that modulating this pathway may provide a new therapeutic approach for hypertrophic heart diseases.
    Keywords:  cardiac hypertrophy; endoplasmic reticulum stress; glucose regulatory protein 78; heart failure; socs3
  5. Sci Transl Med. 2021 Feb 17. pii: eabf0891. [Epub ahead of print]13(581):
    Chelko SP, Keceli G, Carpi A, Doti N, Agrimi J, Asimaki A, Beti CB, Miyamoto M, Amat-Codina N, Bedja D, Wei AC, Murray B, Tichnell C, Kwon C, Calkins H, James CA, O'Rourke B, Halushka MK, Melloni E, Saffitz JE, Judge DP, Ruvo M, Kitsis RN, Andersen P, Di Lisa F, Paolocci N.
      Myocyte death occurs in many inherited and acquired cardiomyopathies, including arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM), a genetic heart disease plagued by the prevalence of sudden cardiac death. Individuals with ACM and harboring pathogenic desmosomal variants, such as desmoglein-2 (DSG2), often show myocyte necrosis with progression to exercise-associated heart failure. Here, we showed that homozygous Dsg2 mutant mice (Dsg2 mut/mut), a model of ACM, die prematurely during swimming and display myocardial dysfunction and necrosis. We detected calcium (Ca2+) overload in Dsg2 mut/mut hearts, which induced calpain-1 (CAPN1) activation, association of CAPN1 with mitochondria, and CAPN1-induced cleavage of mitochondrial-bound apoptosis-inducing factor (AIF). Cleaved AIF translocated to the myocyte nucleus triggering large-scale DNA fragmentation and cell death, an effect potentiated by mitochondrial-driven AIF oxidation. Posttranslational oxidation of AIF cysteine residues was due, in part, to a depleted mitochondrial thioredoxin-2 redox system. Hearts from exercised Dsg2 mut/mut mice were depleted of calpastatin (CAST), an endogenous CAPN1 inhibitor, and overexpressing CAST in myocytes protected against Ca2+ overload-induced necrosis. When cardiomyocytes differentiated from Dsg2 mut/mut embryonic stem cells (ES-CMs) were challenged with β-adrenergic stimulation, CAPN1 inhibition attenuated CAPN1-induced AIF truncation. In addition, pretreatment of Dsg2 mut/mut ES-CMs with an AIF-mimetic peptide, mirroring the cyclophilin-A (PPIA) binding site of AIF, blocked PPIA-mediated AIF-nuclear translocation, and reduced both apoptosis and necrosis. Thus, preventing CAPN1-induced AIF-truncation or barring binding of AIF to the nuclear chaperone, PPIA, may avert myocyte death and, ultimately, disease progression to heart failure in ACM and likely other forms of cardiomyopathies.
  6. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Feb 15. e018913
    Li L, Zeng H, He X, Chen JX.
      Background Impairment of glycolytic metabolism is suggested to contribute to diabetic cardiomyopathy. In this study, we explored the roles of SIRT3 (Sirtuin 3) on cardiomyocyte glucose metabolism and cardiac function. Methods and Results Exposure of H9c2 cardiomyocyte cell lines to high glucose (HG) (30 mmol/L) resulted in a gradual decrease in SIRT3 and 6-phosphofructo-2-kinase/fructose-2,6-bisphosphatase isoform 3 (PFKFB3) expression together with increases in p53 acetylation and TP53-induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator (TIGAR) expression. Glycolysis was significantly reduced in the cardiomyocyte exposed to HG. Transfection with adenovirus-SIRT3 significantly increased PFKFB3 expression and reduced HG-induced p53 acetylation and TIGAR expression. Overexpression of SIRT3 rescued impaired glycolysis and attenuated HG-induced reactive oxygen species formation and apoptosis. Knockdown of TIGAR in cardiomyocytes by using siRNA significantly increased PFKFB3 expression and glycolysis under hyperglycemic conditions. This was accompanied by a significant suppression of HG-induced reactive oxygen species formation and apoptosis. In vivo, overexpression of SIRT3 by an intravenous jugular vein injection of adenovirus-SIRT3 resulted in a significant reduction of p53 acetylation and TIGAR expression together with upregulation of PFKFB3 expression in the heart of diabetic db/db mice at day 14. Overexpression of SIRT3 further reduced reactive oxygen species formation and blunted microvascular rarefaction in the diabetic db/db mouse hearts. Overexpression of SIRT3 significantly blunted cardiac fibrosis and hypertrophy and improved cardiac function at day 14. Conclusions Our study demonstrated that SIRT3 attenuated diabetic cardiomyopathy via regulating p53 acetylation and TIGAR expression. Therefore, SIRT3 may be a novel target for abnormal energy metabolism in diabetes mellitus.
    Keywords:  Sirtuin 3; TP53‐induced glycolysis and apoptosis regulator; diabetic cardiomyopathy; glycolysis; p53 acetylation
  7. Sci Rep. 2021 Feb 16. 11(1): 3915
    Asensio-Lopez MC, Sassi Y, Soler F, Fernandez Del Palacio MJ, Pascual-Figal D, Lax A.
      Left ventricular remodeling following myocardial infarction (MI) is related to adverse outcome. It has been shown that an up-regulation of plasma soluble ST2 (sST2) levels are associated with lower pre-discharge left ventricular (LV) ejection fraction, adverse cardiovascular outcomes and mortality outcome after MI. The mechanisms involved in its modulation are unknown and there is not specific treatment capable of lowering plasma sST2 levels in acute-stage HF. We recently identified Yin-yang 1 (Yy1) as a transcription factor related to circulating soluble ST2 isoform (sST2) expression in infarcted myocardium. However, the underlying mechanisms involved in this process have not been thoroughly elucidated. This study aimed to evaluate the pathophysiological implication of miR-199a-5p in cardiac remodeling and the expression of the soluble ST2 isoform. Myocardial infarction (MI) was induced by permanent ligation of the left anterior coronary artery in C57BL6/J mice that randomly received antimiR199a therapy, antimiR-Ctrl or saline. A model of biomechanical stretching was also used to characterize the underlying mechanisms involved in the activation of Yy1/sST2 axis. Our results show that the significant upregulation of miR-199a-5p after myocardial infarction increases pathological cardiac hypertrophy by upregulating circulating soluble sST2 levels. AntimiR199a therapy up-regulates Sirt1 and inactivates the co-activator P300 protein, thus leading to Yy1 inhibition which decreases both expression and release of circulating sST2 by cardiomyocytes after myocardial infarction. Pharmacological inhibition of miR-199a rescues cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure in mice, offering a potential therapeutic approach for cardiac failure.
  8. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Feb 10. pii: S0891-5849(21)00065-4. [Epub ahead of print]165 385-394
    Liu Y, Li M, Sun M, Zhang Y, Li X, Sun W, Quan N.
      Sestrin2 (Sesn2) is a stress-inducible protein that plays a critical role in the response to ischemic stress. We recently recognized that Sesn2 may protect the heart against ischemic insults by reducing the generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS). After 45 min of ischemia followed by 24 h of reperfusion, myocardial infarcts were significantly larger in Sesn2 KO hearts than in wild-type hearts. Isolated cardiomyocytes from wild-type hearts treated with hypoxia and reoxygenation (H/R) stress showed significantly greater Sesn2 levels, compared with normoxic hearts (p < 0.05). Intriguingly, the administration of adeno-associated virus 9-Sesn2 into Sesn2 knockout (KO) hearts rescued Sesn2 protein levels and significantly improved the cardiac function of Sesn2 KO mice exposed to ischemia and reperfusion. The rescued levels of Sesn2 in Sesn2 KO hearts significantly ameliorated ROS generation and the activation of ROS-related stress signaling pathways during ischemia and reperfusion. Moreover, the rescued Sesn2 levels in Sesn2 KO cardiomyocytes improved the maximal velocity of cardiomyocyte shortening by H/R stress. Rescued Sesn2 levels also improved peak height, peak shortening amplitude, and maximal velocity of the re-lengthening of Sesn2 KO cardiomyocytes subjected to H/R. Finally, the rescued Sesn2 levels significantly augmented intracellular calcium levels and reduced the mean time constant of transient calcium decay in Sesn2 KO cardiomyocytes exposed to H/R. Overall, these findings indicated that Sesn2 can act as an endogenous antioxidant to maintain intracellular redox homeostasis under ischemic stress conditions.
    Keywords:  Antioxidant; Ischemia reperfusion; ROS; Sestrin2
  9. Korean J Physiol Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 01. 25(2): 147-157
    Chen ZQ, Zhou Y, Huang JW, Chen F, Zheng J, Li HL, Li T, Li L.
      Coronary microembolization (CME) is associated with cardiomyocyte apoptosis and cardiac dysfunction. Puerarin confers protection against multiple cardiovascular diseases, but its effects and specific mechanisms on CME are not fully known. Hence, our study investigated whether puerarin pretreatment could alleviate cardiomyocyte apoptosis and improve cardiac function following CME. The molecular mechanism associated was also explored. A total of 48 Sprague-Dawley rats were randomly divided into CME, CME + Puerarin (CME + Pue), sham, and sham + Puerarin (sham + Pue) groups (with 12 rats per group). A CME model was established in CME and CME + Pue groups by injecting 42 μm microspheres into the left ventricle of rats. Rats in the CME + Pue and sham + Pue groups were intraperitoneally injected with puerarin at 120 mg/kg daily for 7 days before operation. Cardiac function, myocardial histopathology, and cardiomyocyte apoptosis index were determined via cardiac ultrasound, hematoxylin-eosin (H&E) and hematoxylin-basic fuchsin-picric acid (HBFP) stainings, and TdT-mediated dUTP nick-end labeling (TUNEL) staining, respectively. Western blotting was used to measure protein expression related to the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (Akt)/glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β) pathway. We found that, puerarin significantly ameliorated cardiac dysfunction after CME, attenuated myocardial infarct size, and reduced myocardial apoptotic index. Besides, puerarin inhibited cardiomyocyte apoptosis, as revealed by decreased Bax and cleaved caspase-3, and up-regulated Bcl-2 and PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β pathway related proteins. Collectively, puerarin can inhibit cardiomyocyte apoptosis and thus attenuate myocardial injury caused by CME. Mechanistically, these effects may be achieved through activation of the PI3K/Akt/GSK-3β pathway.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis; Coronary microembolization; Myocardial injury; PI3K/Akt/GSK-3; Puerarin
  10. J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2021 Feb 11. pii: S0022-2828(21)00031-6. [Epub ahead of print]
    Madsen A, Krause J, Höppner G, Hirt MN, Tan WLW, Lim I, Hansen A, Nikolaev VO, Foo RSY, Eschenhagen T, Stenzig J.
      The role of DNA methylation in cardiomyocyte physiology and cardiac disease remains a matter of controversy. We have recently provided evidence for an important role of DNMT3A in human cardiomyocyte cell homeostasis and metabolism, using engineered heart tissue (EHT) generated from human induced pluripotent stem cell (hiPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes carrying a knockout of the de novo DNA methyltransferase DNMT3A. Unlike isogenic control EHT, knockout EHT displayed morphological abnormalities such as lipid accumulations inside cardiomyocytes associated with impaired mitochondrial metabolism, as well as functional defects and impaired glucose metabolism. Here, we analyzed the role of DNMT3A in the setting of cardiac hypertrophy. We induced hypertrophic signaling by treatment with 50 nM endothelin-1 and 20 μM phenylephrine for one week and assessed EHT contractility, morphology, DNA methylation, and gene expression. While both knockout EHTs and isogenic controls showed the expected activation of the hypertrophic gene program, knockout EHTs were protected from hypertrophy-related functional impairment. Conversely, hypertrophic treatment prevented the metabolic consequences of a loss of DNMT3A, i.e. abolished lipid accumulation in cardiomyocytes likely by partial normalization of mitochondrial metabolism and restored glucose metabolism and metabolism-related gene expression of knockout EHT. Together, these data suggest an important role of DNA methylation not only for cardiomyocyte physiology, but also in the setting of cardiac disease.
    Keywords:  Cardiac hypertrophy; Cardiac metabolism; DNA methylation; Epigenetics; Tissue engineering
  11. Int Immunopharmacol. 2021 Feb 10. pii: S1567-5769(21)00064-3. [Epub ahead of print]94 107428
    Li C, Xin H, Shi Y, Mu J.
      Glutaredoxin 2 (GRX2) plays a cytoprotective role under various pathological conditions. However, whether GRX2 plays a role during myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury has not been fully elucidated. In this work, we aimed to explore the detailed role and mechanism of GRX2 in modulating hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R)-induced cardiac injury in vitro. H/R treatment resulted in a significant increase in GRX2 expression in cardiomyocytes. GRX2 knockdown enhanced the sensitivity of cardiomyocytes to H/R-induced apoptosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation, while GRX2 up-regulation exerted a cardioprotective role in H/R-injured cardiomyocytes. Further investigations revealed that GRX2 up-regulation enhanced the activation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) signaling associated with upregulation of the phosphorylation of Akt and glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β). Akt inhibition markedly abolished GRX2-mediated activation of Nrf2, while GSK-3β inhibition reversed GRX2-knockdown-mediated inhibition of Nrf2. In addition, Nrf2 inhibition markedly abrogated GRX2-mediated protective effects against H/R-induced apoptosis, oxidative stress and inflammation. Overall, this work indicates that GRX2 protects cardiomyocytes from H/R-induced apoptosis, oxidative stress, and inflammation by enhancing Nrf2 activation via modulation of the Akt/GSK-3β axis. Our study highlights a potential relevance of GRX2 in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury; it may serve as an attractive target for cardioprotection.
    Keywords:  Cardiomyocyte; GRX2; Hypoxia/reoxygenation; Nrf2; Oxidative stress
  12. Front Pharmacol. 2020 ;11 593633
    Yue E, Yu Y, Wang X, Liu B, Bai Y, Yang B.
      Diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) is one of the major causes of death in diabetic patients. Its pathogenesis involves inflammation and fibrosis that damages the heart tissue and impairs cardiac function. Interleukin (IL)-17, a pro-inflammatory cytokine that plays an important role in a variety of chronic inflammatory processes can serve as an attractive therapeutic target. Anthocyanin, a water-soluble natural pigment, possesses impressive anti-inflammatory activity. However, its role in DCM is unclear. Hence, we investigated the protective effect of anthocyanin on the cardiovascular complications of diabetes using a mouse type 1 diabetes mellitus model induced by streptozotocin. Cardiac function and structural alterations in diabetic mice were tested by echocardiography, hematoxylin and eosin staining, and Masson trichrome staining. Immunohistochemistry was performed to evaluate the distribution and deposition of IL-17 and collagen I and III from the left ventricular tissues of diabetic mice. Cell viability was measured using the methyl thiazolyl tetrazolium assay. Protein levels of IL-17, tumor necrosis factor α, IL-1β, and IL-6 were determined using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. IL-17 and collagen I and III were detected by western blotting and immunofluorescence, and their mRNA levels were quantified using quantitative reverse transcription PCR. We observed that anthocyanin lowered blood glucose, improved cardiac function, and alleviated inflammation and fibrosis in the heart tissue of diabetic mice. Meanwhile, anthocyanin reduced the expression of IL-17 in high-glucose-treated cardiac fibroblasts and exhibited an anti-inflammatory effect. Deposition of collagen I and III was also decreased by anthocyanin, suggesting that anthocyanin contributes to alleviating myocardial fibrosis. In summary, anthocyanin could protect cardiac function and inhibit IL-17-related inflammation and fibrosis, which indicates its therapeutic potential in the treatment of diabetes mellitus-related complications.
    Keywords:  IL-17; anthocyanin; diabetic cardiomyopathy; inflammation; myocardial fibrosis
  13. Phytomedicine. 2021 Jan 27. pii: S0944-7113(21)00023-4. [Epub ahead of print]83 153481
    Feng W, Ying Z, Ke F, Mei-Lin X.
      BACKGROUND: Apigenin can reduce cardiomyocyte hypertrophy by downregulating hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha (HIF-1α) expression. However, its effects on cardiac fibroblasts (CFs) and its exact inhibitory molecular mechanisms on HIF-1α remain unclear.PURPOSE: This study aims to examine the effects of apigenin on cell proliferation and differentiation, microRNA-122-5p (miR-122-5p) expression, and HIF-1α-mediated Smad signaling pathway in transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1)-stimulated CFs and cardiac fibrosis and to investigate the relationship between miR-122-5p and HIF-1α.
    METHODS: The TGF-β1-stimulated CFs, the combination of TGF-β1-stimulated and miR-122-5p mimic-transfected CFs, the combination of TGF-β1-stimulated and miR-122-5p inhibitor-transfected CFs, and the isoproterenol-induced cardiac fibrotic mice were used and treated with or without apigenin. The recombinant lentiviruses overexpressing HIF-1α vector and miR-122-5p mimic were co-transfected to observe their interaction. Related mRNA and protein expressions and myocardial collagen were determined. The luciferase reporter gene that contains HIF-1α wild type or mutant type 3'-UTR was used, and the luciferase activity was determined to verify the direct link between miR-122-5p and HIF-1α.
    RESULTS: In the TGF-β1-stimulated CFs, apigenin treatment increased the miR-122-5p and Smad7 expressions and decreased the HIF-1α, α-smooth muscle actin, collagen Ⅰ/Ⅲ, Smad2/3, and p-Smad2/3 expressions. Similar and inverse results were observed in the miR-122-5p mimic- and inhibitor-transfected CFs, respectively. Moreover, the miR-122-5p mimic could antagonize the effects of TGF-β1 in the TGF-β1 and miR-122-5p mimic-combined CFs, and the miR-122-5p inhibitor could enhance the effects of TGF-β1 in the TGF-β1 and miR-122-5p inhibitor-combined CFs. In the two aforementioned cell models, the addition of apigenin could further enhance the effects of miR-122-5p mimic and partially reverse the effects of miR-122-5p inhibitor. After treatment of HIF-1α-transfected CFs with miR-122-5p mimic, the HIF-1α expression decreased. Further study confirmed that HIF-1α was a direct target of miR-122-5p. Apigenin also decreased the myocardial collagen accumulation in cardiac fibrotic mice.
    CONCLUSION: Apigenin could suppress the differentiation and collagen synthesis of TGF-β1-stimulated CFs and mouse cardiac fibrosis, and its mechanisms were related to the increment of miR-122-5p expression and subsequent downregulation of HIF-1α expression via direct interaction, which might finally result in the decrements of Smad2/3 and p-Smad2/3 expressions and increment of Smad7 expression.
    Keywords:  Apigenin; Cardiac fibroblasts; Hypoxia inducible factor-1 alpha; MicroRNA-122-5p; Smad; Transforming growth factor beta 1
  14. Circulation. 2021 Feb 16.
    Yang D, Wan X, Dennis AT, Bektik E, Wang Z, Costa MGS, Fagnen C, Vénien-Bryan C, Xu X, Gratz DH, Hund TJ, Mohler PJ, Laurita KR, Deschênes I, Fu JD.
      Background: MicroRNAs (miRs) play critical roles in regulation of numerous biological events, including cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmia, through canonical RNA interference (RNAi) mechanism. However, it remains unknown if endogenous miRs modulate the physiological homeostasis of the heart through noncanonical mechanisms. Methods: We focused on the predominant miR of the heart--miR1 and investigated if miR1 could physically bind with ion channels in cardiomyocytes by electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA), in situ proximity ligation assay (PLA), RNA pull down and RNA Immunoprecipitation (RIP) assays. The functional modulations of cellular electrophysiology were evaluated by inside-out and whole-cell patch clamp. Mutagenesis of miR1 and the ion channel was utilized to understand the underlying mechanism. The effect on the ex vivo heart was demonstrated through investigating arrhythmia-associated human single nucleotide-polymorphisms (hSNPs) with miR1-deficient mice. Results: We found that endogenous miR1 could physically bind with cardiac membrane proteins, including an inward-rectifier potassium channel Kir2.1. The miR1-Kir2.1 physical interaction was observed in mouse, guinea pig, canine and human cardiomyocytes. miR1 quickly and significantly suppressed IK1 at sub-pmol/L concentration, which is close to endogenous miR-expression level. Acute presence of miR1 depolarized resting membrane potential (RMP) and prolonged final repolarization of the action potential in cardiomyocytes. We identified three miR1-binding residues on the C-terminus of Kir2.1. Mechanistically, miR1 binds to the pore-facing G-loop of Kir2.1 through the core sequence AAGAAG, which is outside its RNAi seed region. This biophysical modulation is involved in the dysregulation of gain-of-function Kir2.1-M301K mutation in short-QT/AF patients. We found that an arrhythmia-associated hSNP of miR1--hSNP14A/G specifically disrupts the biophysical modulation while retaining the RNAi function. Remarkably, miR1 but not hSNP14A/G relieved the hyperpolarized RMP in miR1-deficient cardiomyocytes, improved the conduction velocity, and eliminated the high inducibility of arrhythmia in miR1-deficient hearts ex vivo. Conclusions: Our study reveals a novel evolutionarily-conserved biophysical action of endogenous miRs in modulating cardiac electrophysiology. Our discovery of miRs' biophysical modulation provides a more comprehensive understanding of ion-channel dysregulation and may provide new insights into the pathogenesis of cardiac arrhythmias.
    Keywords:  biophysical modulation
  15. Circulation. 2021 Feb 19.
    Carley AN, Maurya SK, Fasano M, Wang Y, Selzman CH, Drakos SG, Lewandowski ED.
      Background: The failing heart is energy-starved with impaired oxidation of long chain fatty acids (LCFA) at the level of reduced carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 (CPT1) activity at the outer mitochondrial membrane. Recent work shows elevated ketone oxidation in failing hearts as an alternate carbon source for oxidative ATP generation. We hypothesized that another short chain carbon source, short chain fatty acids (SCFA) that bypass CPT1, could similarly support energy production in failing hearts. Methods: Cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction was induced in rats by transverse-aortic constriction (TAC). 14 weeks after TAC or sham-operation, isolated hearts were perfused with either the four carbon, 13C-labeled ketone (D3-hydroxybutyrate) or the four carbon, 13C -labeled SCFA, butyrate in the presence of glucose and the LCFA, palmitate. Oxidation of ketone and SCFA was compared by in vitro 13C NMR spectroscopy, as was the capacity for short chain carbon sources to compensate for impaired LCFA oxidation in the hypertrophic heart. Adaptive changes in enzyme expression and content for the distinct pathways of ketone and SCFA oxidation were examined in both failing rat and human hearts. Results: TAC produced pathological hypertrophy and increased the fractional contributions of ketone to acetyl CoA production in the tricarboxylic acid cycle (0.60±0.02 sham ketone vs 0.70±0.02 TAC ketone, p<0.05). However, butyrate oxidation in failing hearts was 15% greater (0.803±0.02 TAC SCFA) than ketone oxidation. SCFA was also more readily oxidized than ketone in sham hearts by 15% (0.693±0.02 sham SCFA). Despite greater SFCA oxidation, TAC did not change short chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase content. However, failing hearts of humans and the rat model both contain significant increases in acyl CoA synthetase medium chain 3 enzyme gene expression and protein content. The increased oxidation of SCFA and ketones occurred at the expense of LCFA oxidation, with LCFA contributing less to acetyl CoA production in failing hearts perfused with SCFA (0.19±0.012 TAC SCFA vs. 0.3163±0.036 TAC ketone). Conclusions: SCFA are more readily oxidized than ketones in failing hearts, despite both bypassing reduced CPT1 activity, and represents an unexplored carbon source for energy production in failing hearts.
    Keywords:  ketones; short chain fatty acids
  16. Basic Res Cardiol. 2021 Feb 15. 116(1): 11
    Helmstadter KG, Ljubojevic-Holzer S, Wood BM, Taheri KD, Sedej S, Erickson JR, Bossuyt J, Bers DM.
      Nuclear histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4) represses MEF2-mediated transcription, implicated in the development of heart failure. CaMKII-dependent phosphorylation drives nucleus-to-cytoplasm HDAC4 shuttling, but protein kinase A (PKA) is also linked to HDAC4 translocation. However, the interplay of CaMKII and PKA in regulating adult cardiomyocyte HDAC4 translocation is unclear. Here we sought to determine the interplay of PKA- and CaMKII-dependent HDAC4 phosphorylation and translocation in adult mouse, rabbit and human ventricular myocytes. Confocal imaging and protein analyses revealed that inhibition of CaMKII-but not PKA, PKC or PKD-raised nucleo-to-cytoplasmic HDAC4 fluorescence ratio (FNuc/FCyto) by ~ 50%, indicating baseline CaMKII activity that limits HDAC4 nuclear localization. Further CaMKII activation (via increased extracellular [Ca2+], high pacing frequencies, angiotensin II or overexpression of CaM or CaMKIIδC) led to significant HDAC4 nuclear export. In contrast, PKA activation by isoproterenol or forskolin drove HDAC4 into the nucleus (raising FNuc/FCyto by > 60%). These PKA-mediated effects were abolished in cells pretreated with PKA inhibitors and in cells expressing mutant HDAC4 in S265/266A mutant. In physiological conditions where both kinases are active, PKA-dependent nuclear accumulation of HDAC4 was predominant in the very early response, while CaMKII-dependent HDAC4 export prevailed upon prolonged stimuli. This orchestrated co-regulation was shifted in failing cardiomyocytes, where CaMKII-dependent effects predominated over PKA-dependent response. Importantly, human cardiomyocytes showed similar CaMKII- and PKA-dependent HDAC4 shifts. Collectively, CaMKII limits nuclear localization of HDAC4, while PKA favors HDAC4 nuclear retention and S265/266 is essential for PKA-mediated regulation. These pathways thus compete in HDAC4 nuclear localization and transcriptional regulation in cardiac signaling.
    Keywords:  Calcium-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase (CaMKII); Cardiac hypertrophy; Histone deacetylase 4 (HDAC4); Protein kinase A (PKA); Ventricular remodeling
  17. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Feb 11. pii: S0891-5849(21)00084-8. [Epub ahead of print]
    Tsoumani M, Georgoulis A, Nikolaou PE, Kostopoulos IV, Dermintzoglou T, Papatheodorou I, Zoga A, Efentakis P, Konstantinou M, Gikas E, Kostomitsopoulos N, Papapetropoulos A, Lazou A, Skaltsounis AL, Hausenloy DJ, Tsitsilonis O, Tseti I, di Lisa F, Iliodromitis EK, Andreadou I.
      Oleuropein, one of the main polyphenolic constituents of olive, is cardioprotective against ischemia reperfusion injury (IRI). We aimed to assess the cardioprotection afforded by acute administration of oleuropein and to evaluate the underlying mechanism. Importantly, since antioxidant therapies have yielded inconclusive results in attenuating IRI-induced damage on top of conditioning strategies, we investigated whether oleuropein could enhance or imbed the cardioprotective manifestation of ischemic postconditioning (PostC). Oleuropein, given during ischemia as a single intravenous bolus dose reduced the infarct size compared to the control group both in rabbits and mice subjected to myocardial IRI. None of the inhibitors of the cardioprotective pathways, L-NAME, wortmannin and AG-490, influence its infarct size limiting effects. Combined oleuropein and PostC cause further limitation of infarct size in comparison with PostC alone in both animal models. Oleuropein did not inhibit the calcium induced mitochondrial permeability transition pore opening in isolated mitochondria and did not increase cGMP production. To provide further insights to the different cardioprotective mechanism of oleuropein, we sought to characterize its anti-inflammatory potential in vivo. Oleuropein, PostC and their combination reduce inflammatory monocytes infiltration into the heart and the circulating monocyte cell population. Oleuropein's mechanism of action involves a direct protective effect on cardiomyocytes since it significantly increased their viability following simulated IRI as compared to non-treated cells. Οleuropein confers additive cardioprotection on top of PostC, via increasing the expression of the transcription factor Nrf-2 and its downstream targets in vivo. In conclusion, acute oleuropein administration during ischemia in combination with PostC provides robust and synergistic cardioprotection in experimental models of IRI by inducing antioxidant defense genes through Nrf-2 axis and independently of the classic cardioprotective signaling pathways (RISK, cGMP/PKG, SAFE).
    Keywords:  antioxidant defense systems; cardioprotection; inflammation; ischemia-reperfusion injury; oleuropein; postconditioning
  18. Saudi Pharm J. 2021 Jan;29(1): 27-42
    ALTamimi JZ, BinMowyna MN, AlFaris NA, Alagal RI, El-Kott AF, Al-Farga AM.
      This study examined if the Fisetin against streptozotocin-induced diabetic cardiomyopathy (DC) in rats involves regulating cardiac metabolism and suppressing protein kinase R (PKR). Male rats were divided (12/groups) as control (non-diabetic), control + Fisetin, T1DM, and T1DM + Fisetin. Fisetin was administered orally at a final dose of 2.5 mg/kg for 12 weeks. In T1DM1-induced rats, Fisetin prevented heart and final body weights loss, lowered circulatory levels troponin I and creatinine kinase-MB (CK-MB), increased fasting insulin levels, and improved ventricular systolic and diastolic functions. It also preserved the structure of the cardiomyocytes and reduced oxidative stress, fibrosis, protein levels of transforming growth factor-β1 (TGF-β1), collagenase 1A, caspase-3, and the activation of JNK, p53, and p38 MAPK. In the control and diabetic rats, Fisetin attenuated fasting hyperglycaemia, the increases in glucose levels after the oral and insulin tolerance tests, and HOMA-IR. It also increased cardiac glucose oxidation by increasing the activity of private dehydrogenase (PDH), phosphofructokinase (PFK), protein levels of PPAR-α and suppressed cardiac inflammation by inhibiting NF-κB. These effects were associated with a reduction in the activity of PKR and subsequent increase in the activity of eeukaryotic initiation factor 2 (eIF2) with a parallel increase in protein levels of p67, a cellular inhibitor of PKR. In cultured cardiomyocytes, Fisetin, prevented high glucose (HG)-induced activation of PKR and reduction in p67, in a dose-dependent manner. However, the effect of Fisetin on PKR was diminished in LG and HG-treated cardiomyocytes with p67-siRNA. In conclusion, Fisetin protects against DC in rats by improving cardiac glucose metabolism and suppressing PKR.
    Keywords:  Diabetic cardiomyopathy; Fisetin; Glucose; Protein Kinase R; Rats
  19. J Mol Cell Biol. 2020 Sep 16. pii: mjaa046. [Epub ahead of print]
    Peng X, Lai KS, She P, Kang J, Wang T, Li G, Zhou Y, Sun J, Jin D, Xu X, Liao L, Liu J, Lee E, Poss KD, Zhong TP.
      Heart regeneration occurs by dedifferentiation and proliferation of pre-existing cardiomyocytes (CMs). However, the signaling mechanisms by which injury induces CM renewal remain incompletely understood. Here, we find that cardiac injury in zebrafish induces expression of the secreted Wnt inhibitors, including Dickkopf 1 (Dkk1), Dkk3, secreted Frizzled-related protein 1 (sFrp1), and sFrp2, in cardiac tissue adjacent to injury sites. Experimental blocking of Wnt activity via Dkk1 overexpression enhances CM proliferation and heart regeneration, whereas ectopic activation of Wnt8 signaling blunts injury-induced CM dedifferentiation and proliferation. Although Wnt signaling is dampened upon injury, the cytoplasmic β-catenin is unexpectedly increased at disarrayed CM sarcomeres in myocardial wound edges. Our analyses indicated that p21-activated kinase 2 (Pak2) is induced at regenerating CMs, where it phosphorylates cytoplasmic β-catenin at Ser 675 and increases its stability at disassembled sarcomeres. Myocardial-specific induction of the phospho-mimetic β-catenin (S675E) enhances CM dedifferentiation and sarcomere disassembly in response to injury. Conversely, inactivation of Pak2 kinase activity reduces the Ser 675-phosphorylated β-catenin (pS675-β-catenin) and attenuates CM sarcomere disorganization and dedifferentiation. Taken together, these findings demonstrate that coordination of Wnt signaling inhibition and Pak2/pS675-β-catenin signaling enhances zebrafish heart regeneration by supporting CM dedifferentiation and proliferation.
    Keywords:  PAK2 kinase; Wnt signaling; cardiomyocyte dedifferentiation; cardiomyocyte proliferation; heart regeneration; zebrafish
  20. FEBS J. 2021 Feb 18.
    Lymperopoulos A, Cora N, Maning J, Brill AR, Sizova A.
      The two branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), adrenergic and cholinergic, exert a multitude of effects on the human myocardium thanks to the activation of distinct G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) expressed on the plasma membranes of cardiac myocytes, cardiac fibroblasts, and coronary vascular endothelial cells. Norepinephrine (NE)/epinephrine (Epi) and acetylcholine (ACh) are released from cardiac ANS terminals and mediate the biological actions of the ANS on the heart via stimulation of cardiac adrenergic or muscarinic receptors, respectively. In addition, several other neurotransmitters/hormones act as facilitators of ANS neurotransmission in the heart, taking part in the so-called non-adrenergic non-cholinergic (NANC) part of the ANS`s control of cardiac function. These NANC mediators also use several different cell membrane-residing GPCRs to exert their effects in the myocardium. Cardiac ANS dysfunction and an imbalance between the activities of its two branches underlie a variety of cardiovascular diseases, from heart failure and hypertension to coronary artery disease, myocardial ischemia, and arrhythmias. In this review, we present the main well-established signaling modalities used by cardiac autonomic GPCRs, including receptors for salient NANC mediators, and we also highlight the latest developments pertaining to cardiac cell type-specific signal transduction, resulting in cell type-specific cardiac effects of each of these autonomic receptors.
    Keywords:  Adrenergic receptor; Autonomic nervous system; Muscarinic receptor; Myocardium; Non-adrenergic non-cholinergic receptor; Signal transduction
  21. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 623381
    Salazar-Ramírez F, Ramos-Mondragón R, García-Rivas G.
      Ca2+ plays a pivotal role in mitochondrial energy production, contraction, and apoptosis. Mitochondrial Ca2+-targeted fluorescent probes have demonstrated that mitochondria Ca2+ transients are synchronized with Ca2+ fluxes occurring in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). The presence of specialized proteins tethering SR to mitochondria ensures the local Ca2+ flux between these organelles. Furthermore, communication between SR and mitochondria impacts their functionality in a bidirectional manner. Mitochondrial Ca2+ uptake through the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniplex is essential for ATP production and controlled reactive oxygen species levels for proper cellular signaling. Conversely, mitochondrial ATP ensures the proper functioning of SR Ca2+-handling proteins, which ensures that mitochondria receive an adequate supply of Ca2+. Recent evidence suggests that altered SR Ca2+ proteins, such as ryanodine receptors and the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ ATPase pump, play an important role in maintaining proper cardiac membrane excitability, which may be initiated and potentiated when mitochondria are dysfunctional. This recognized mitochondrial role offers the opportunity to develop new therapeutic approaches aimed at preventing cardiac arrhythmias in cardiac disease.
    Keywords:  arrhythmia; calcium; heart failure; ischemia/reperfusion injury; mitochondria; sarcoplasmic reticulum
  22. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Mar 02. pii: e2018220118. [Epub ahead of print]118(9):
    Koopman CD, De Angelis J, Iyer SP, Verkerk AO, Da Silva J, Berecki G, Jeanes A, Baillie GJ, Paterson S, Uribe V, Ehrlich OV, Robinson SD, Garric L, Petrou S, Simons C, Vetter I, Hogan BM, de Boer TP, Bakkers J, Smith KA.
      The establishment of cardiac function in the developing embryo is essential to ensure blood flow and, therefore, growth and survival of the animal. The molecular mechanisms controlling normal cardiac rhythm remain to be fully elucidated. From a forward genetic screen, we identified a unique mutant, grime, that displayed a specific cardiac arrhythmia phenotype. We show that loss-of-function mutations in tmem161b are responsible for the phenotype, identifying Tmem161b as a regulator of cardiac rhythm in zebrafish. To examine the evolutionary conservation of this function, we generated knockout mice for Tmem161b. Tmem161b knockout mice are neonatal lethal and cardiomyocytes exhibit arrhythmic calcium oscillations. Mechanistically, we find that Tmem161b is expressed at the cell membrane of excitable cells and live imaging shows it is required for action potential repolarization in the developing heart. Electrophysiology on isolated cardiomyocytes demonstrates that Tmem161b is essential to inhibit Ca2+ and K+ currents in cardiomyocytes. Importantly, Tmem161b haploinsufficiency leads to cardiac rhythm phenotypes, implicating it as a candidate gene in heritable cardiac arrhythmia. Overall, these data describe Tmem161b as a highly conserved regulator of cardiac rhythm that functions to modulate ion channel activity in zebrafish and mice.
    Keywords:  arrhythmia; cardiac; forward genetics; mouse; zebrafish
  23. Front Cell Dev Biol. 2020 ;8 629397
    Gao QY, Zhang HF, Tao J, Chen ZT, Liu CY, Liu WH, Wu MX, Yin WY, Gao GH, Xie Y, Yang Y, Liu PM, Wang JF, Chen YX.
      Although mitochondrial fission has been reported to increase proliferative capacity and collagen production, it can also contribute to mitochondrial impairment, which is detrimental to cell survival. The aim of the present study was to investigate the role of mitochondrial fission in cardiac fibroblasts (CF) activation and explore the mechanisms involved in the maintenance of mitochondrial health under this condition. For this, changes in the levels of mitochondrial fission/fusion-related proteins were assessed in transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1)-activated CF, whereas the role of mitochondrial fission during this process was also elucidated, as were the underlying mechanisms. The interaction between mitochondrial fission and mitophagy, the main defense mechanism against mitochondrial impairment, was also explored. The results showed that the mitochondria in TGF-β1-treated CF were noticeably more fragmented than those of controls. The expression of several mitochondrial fission-related proteins was markedly upregulated, and the levels of fusion-related proteins were also altered, but to a lesser extent. Inhibiting mitochondrial fission resulted in a marked attenuation of TGF-β1-induced CF activation. The TGF-β1-induced increase in glycolysis was greatly suppressed in the presence of a mitochondrial inhibitor, whereas a glycolysis-specific antagonist exerted little additional antifibrotic effects. TGF-β1 treatment increased cellular levels of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and triggered mitophagy, but this effect was reversed following the application of ROS scavengers. For the signals mediating mitophagy, the expression of Pink1, but not Bnip3l/Nix or Fundc1, exhibited the most significant changes, which could be counteracted by treatment with a mitochondrial fission inhibitor. Pink1 knockdown suppressed CF activation and mitochondrial fission, which was accompanied by increased CF apoptosis. In conclusion, mitochondrial fission resulted in increased glycolysis and played a crucial role in CF activation. Moreover, mitochondrial fission promoted reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, leading to mitophagy and the consequent degradation of the impaired mitochondria, thus promoting CF survival and maintaining their activation.
    Keywords:  cardiac fibroblasts; glycolysis; mitochondrial fission; mitophagy; reactive oxygen species
  24. Apoptosis. 2021 Feb 19.
    Zhang J, Zheng X, Wang P, Wang J, Ding W.
      Apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain (ARC) is a highly effective and multifunctional inhibitor of apoptosis that is mainly expressed in postmitotic cells such as cardiomyocytes and skeletal muscle cells. ARC contains a C-terminal region rich in proline and glutamic acid residues and an N-terminal caspase recruitment domain (CARD). The CARD is originally described as a protein-binding motif that interacts with caspase through a CARD-CARD interaction. Initially, the inhibitory effect of ARC was only found in apoptosis, however, it was later found that ARC also played a regulatory role in other types of cell death. As a powerful cardioprotective factor, ARC can protect the heart by inhibiting the death of cardiomyocytes in various ways. ARC can reduce the cardiomyocyte apoptotic response to various stresses and injuries, including extrinsic apoptosis induced by death receptor ligands, cellular Ca2+ homeostasis and the dysregulation of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, oxidative stress and hypoxia. In addition, changes in ARC transcription and translation levels in the heart can cause a series of physiological and pathological changes, and ARC can also perform corresponding functions through interactions with other molecules. Although there has been much research on ARC, the functional redundancy among proteins shows that ARC still has much research value. This review summarizes the molecular characteristics of ARC, its roles in the various death modes in cardiomyocytes and the roles of ARC in cardiac pathophysiology. This article also describes the potential therapeutic effect and research prospects of ARC.
    Keywords:  Apoptosis repressor with caspase recruitment domain (ARC); Cardiomyocyte; Cardiovascular disease; Cell death
  25. Aging (Albany NY). 2021 Feb 11. 13
    Diao L, Zhang Q.
      Ischemia results in neuronal damage via alterations in gene transcription and protein expression. Long noncoding RNAs (LncRNAs) are pivotal in the regulation of target protein expression in hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R). In this study, we observed the function of exosomes-carried lncRNA UCA1 in H/R-induced injury of cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (CMECs). In H/R cell model, CMECs were co-cultured with human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell-derived exosomes (hUCMSC-ex). The loss-of-function experiments were conducted to assess the effect of lncRNA UCA1 on H/R injury by assessing the biological behaviors of CMECs. The relationship among lncRNA UCA1, miR-143 and Bcl-2 were verified. An ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) rat model was established. Then hUCMSC-ex was injected into I/R rats to identify its effects on apoptosis and autophagy. Functional rescue experiments were performed to verify the sponge system. In vitro and in vivo experiments showed that hUCMSC-ex protected I/R rats and H/R CMECs against injury. Silencing UCA1 in hUCMSC-ex or miR-143 overexpression aggravated H/R injury in CMECs. LncRNA UCA1 competitively bound to miR-143 to upregulate Bcl-2. And hUCMSCs-ex/si-UCA1+inhi-miR-143 treatment protected CMECs against H/R injury and inhibited hyperautophagy. Together, hUCMSC-ex-derived lncRNA UCA1 alleviates H/R injury through the miR-143/Bcl-2/Beclin-1 axis. Hence, this study highlights a stem cell-based approach against I/R injury.
    Keywords:  exosome; human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cell; hypoxia/reoxygenation; ischemia-reperfusion; lncRNA UCA1
  26. J Am Heart Assoc. 2021 Feb 15. e019338
    Hall C, Gehmlich K, Denning C, Pavlovic D.
      Cardiac fibroblasts are the primary cell type responsible for deposition of extracellular matrix in the heart, providing support to the contracting myocardium and contributing to a myriad of physiological signaling processes. Despite the importance of fibrosis in processes of wound healing, excessive fibroblast proliferation and activation can lead to pathological remodeling, driving heart failure and the onset of arrhythmias. Our understanding of the mechanisms driving the cardiac fibroblast activation and proliferation is expanding, and evidence for their direct and indirect effects on cardiac myocyte function is accumulating. In this review, we focus on the importance of the fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition and the cross talk of cardiac fibroblasts with cardiac myocytes. We also consider the current use of models used to explore these questions.
    Keywords:  arrhythmias; cardiac fibroblasts; cardiomyocytes; fibrosis; heart failure; myofibroblast
  27. Stem Cell Res. 2021 Feb 01. pii: S1873-5061(21)00064-7. [Epub ahead of print]52 102218
    Saraf A, Rampoldi A, Chao M, Li D, Armand L, Hwang H, Liu R, Jha R, Fu H, Maxwell JT, Xu C.
      Proinflammatory molecule tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF-α) is predominantly elevated in cytokine storm as well as worsening cardiac function. Here we model the molecular and functional effects of TNF-α in cardiomyocytes (CMs) derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC). We found that treatment of hiPSC-CMs with TNF-α increased reactive oxygen species (ROS) and caspase 3/7 activity and caused cell death and apoptosis. TNF-α treatment also resulted in dysregulation of cardiomyocyte function with respect to the increased abnormal calcium handling, calcium wave propagation between cells and excitation-contraction coupling. We also uncovered significant changes in gene expression and protein localization caused by TNF-α treatment. Notably, TNF-α treatment altered the expression of ion channels, dysregulated cadherins, and affected the localization of gap-junction protein connexin-43. In addition, TNF-α treatment up-regulated IL-32 (a human specific cytokine, not present in rodents and an inducer of TNF-α) and IL-34 and down-regulated glutamate receptors and cardiomyocyte contractile proteins. These findings provide insights into the molecular and functional consequences from the exposure of human cardiomyocytes to TNF-α. Our study provides a model to incorporate inflammatory factors into hiPSC-CM-based studies to evaluate mechanistic aspects of heart disease.
    Keywords:  Ca(2+) transients; Ca(2+)propagation; Cardiomyocytes; Cytokines; Human iPSC; TNFα
  28. Biol Open. 2021 Feb 17. pii: bio.058542. [Epub ahead of print]
    Giardoglou P, Bournele D, Park M, Kanoni S, Dedoussis GV, Steinberg SF, Deloukas P, Beis D.
      Protein Kinase D2 belongs to a family of evolutionarily conserved enzymes regulating several biological processes. In a forward genetic screen for zebrafish cardiovascular mutants, we identified a mutation in the prkd2 gene. Homozygous mutant embryos develop as wild-type up to 36hours post-fertilization and initiate blood flow, but fail to maintain it, resulting in a complete outflow tract stenosis. We identified a mutation in the prkd2 gene that results in a T757A substitution at a conserved residue in the kinase domain activation loop (T714A in human PRKD2) that disrupts catalytic activity and drives this phenotype. Homozygous mutants survive without circulation for several days, allowing us to study the extreme phenotype of no intracardiac flow, in the background of a functional heart. We show dysregulation of atrioventricular and outflow tract markers in the mutants and higher sensitivity to the Calcineurin inhibitor, Cyclosporin A. Finally we identify TBX5 as a potential regulator of PRKD2. Our results implicate PRKD2 catalytic activity in outflow tract development in zebrafish.
    Keywords:  Cardiac valves; Cardiovascular development; Protein kinase D2; Zebrafish
  29. Circ Res. 2021 Feb 17.
    Mustroph J, Sag CM, Bähr F, Schmidtmann AL, Gupta SN, Dietz A, Islam MT, Lücht CM, Beuthner BE, Pabel S, Baier MJ, El-Armouche A, Sossalla S, Anderson ME, Möllmann J, Lehrke M, Marx N, Mohler PJ, Bers DM, Unsöld B, He T, Dewenter M, Backs J, Maier LS, Wagner S.
      Rationale: Increased myocardial activity of Ca/calmodulin-dependent kinase II (CaMKII) leads to heart failure (HF) and arrhythmias. In Drosophila neurons, interaction of CaMKII with Ca/CaM-dependent serine protein kinase (CASK) has been shown to inhibit CaMKII activity, but the consequences of this regulation for HF and ventricular arrhythmias are unknown. Objective: We hypothesize that CASK associates with CaMKII in human and mouse hearts thereby limiting CaMKII activity, and that altering CASK expression in mice changes CaMKII activity accordingly, with functional consequences for contractile function and arrhythmias. Methods and Results: Immunoprecipitation revealed that CASK associates with CaMKII in human hearts. CASK expression is unaltered in HF but increased in patients with aortic stenosis. In mice, cardiomyocyte-specific knockout of CASK (CASK-KO) increased CaMKII auto-phosphorylation at the stimulatory T287 site, but reduced phosphorylation at the inhibitory T305/306 site. CASK-KO mice showed increased CaMKII-dependent sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca leak, reduced SR Ca-content, increased susceptibility to ventricular arrhythmias, greater loss of ejection fraction, and increased mortality after transverse aortic constriction. Intriguingly, stimulation of the cardiac glucagon-like peptide 1-receptor with exenatide increased CASK expression resulting in increased inhibitory CaMKII T305 phosphorylation, reduced CaMKII activity, and reduced SR Ca leak in WT but not CASK KO. Conclusions: CASK associates with CaMKII in the human heart. CASK-KO in mice increases CaMKII activity, leading to contractile dysfunction and arrhythmias. Increasing CASK expression reduces CaMKII activity, improves Ca handling and contractile function.
    Keywords:  CASK; Ca; CaMKII inhibition; SR Ca leaks; calmodulin
  30. Front Physiol. 2020 ;11 625974
    Evangelisti A, Butler H, Del Monte F.
      Purpose of Review: This review summarizes the current evidence for the involvement of proteotoxicity and protein quality control systems defects in diseases of the central nervous and cardiovascular systems. Specifically, it presents the commonalities between the pathophysiology of protein misfolding diseases in the heart and the brain. Recent Findings: The involvement of protein homeostasis dysfunction has been for long time investigated and accepted as one of the leading pathophysiological causes of neurodegenerative diseases. In cardiovascular diseases instead the mechanistic focus had been on the primary role of Ca2+ dishomeostasis, myofilament dysfunction as well as extracellular fibrosis, whereas no attention was given to misfolding of proteins as a pathogenetic mechanism. Instead, in the recent years, several contributions have shown protein aggregates in failing hearts similar to the ones found in the brain and increasing evidence have highlighted the crucial importance that proteotoxicity exerts via pre-amyloidogenic species in cardiovascular diseases as well as the prominent role of the cellular response to misfolded protein accumulation. As a result, proteotoxicity, unfolding protein response (UPR), and ubiquitin-proteasome system (UPS) have recently been investigated as potential key pathogenic pathways and therapeutic targets for heart disease. Summary: Overall, the current knowledge summarized in this review describes how the misfolding process in the brain parallels in the heart. Understanding the folding and unfolding mechanisms involved early through studies in the heart will provide new knowledge for neurodegenerative proteinopathies and may prepare the stage for targeted and personalized interventions.
    Keywords:  Alzheimer's disease; amyloid; heart failure; protein quality control (PQC); proteotoxicity
  31. Eur Rev Med Pharmacol Sci. 2021 Jan;pii: 24397. [Epub ahead of print]25(1): 313-325
    Aggeli IK, Kapogiannatou A, Paraskevopoulou F, Gaitanaki C.
      OBJECTIVE: Multiple pathophysiological conditions are associated with disturbance of myocardial osmotic equilibrium, exerting detrimental effects on cardiac performance. Cardiac myocytes may encounter hyperosmotic stress during hyperglycemia, ischemia/reperfusion injury, myocardial infarction, diabetes mellitus, severe dehydration, hypoxia or heat stress. Aquaporins (AQPs) constitute transmembrane channels that facilitate water transport in response to osmotic gradients. Therefore, the present study aimed at probing into AQPs mode of response and potential role as effector molecules and sensors, under hyperosmotic stress.MATERIALS AND METHODS: H9c2 cardiac myoblasts were left untreated (control) or were exposed to 0.5 M sorbitol so as to induce hyperosmotic stress conditions. After the experimental treatments, MTT assay was performed to assess cell viability. Endogenous mRNA levels of AQP1 and AQP7 were assessed by ratiometric RT-PCR. Their subcellular localization pattern was revealed by immunofluorescence microscopy. Protein levels of AQP1 and AQP7, as well as of apoptotic markers (cleaved caspase-3 and PARP), were detected by immunoblot analysis.
    RESULTS: Hyperosmotic stress (0.5 M sorbitol) induced a time-dependent upregulation of AQP7 (but not of AQP1) mRNA in H9c2 cells. Of note, biochemical and immunocytochemical analyses revealed the increased membrane-associated protein expression of AQP1, under these conditions, while AQP7 respective levels remained unchanged. Interestingly, inhibition of AQP1 by HgCl2, aggravated the sorbitol-induced apoptosis in H9c2 cells, as evidenced by chromatin condensation and fragmentation of caspase-3 and PARP.
    CONCLUSIONS: AQP1 and AQP7 are differentially regulated under hyperosmotic stress conditions in H9c2 cells. AQP1, acting as an osmotic stress sensor and response factor, exerts a beneficial effect against the sorbitol-induced apoptosis, potentially favoring preservation of cardiac function.
  32. Europace. 2021 Feb 19. pii: euab008. [Epub ahead of print]
    Huang M, Fan X, Yang Z, Cyganek L, Li X, Yuecel G, Lan H, Li Y, Wendel A, Lang S, Bieback K, El-Battrawy I, Zhou X, Akin I, Borggrefe M.
      AIMS: This study aimed to investigate possible roles and underlying mechanisms of alpha-adrenoceptor coupled signalling for the pathogenesis of Takotsubo syndrome (TTS).METHODS AND RESULTS: Human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) were treated with a toxic concentration of epinephrine (Epi, 0.5 mM for 1 h) to mimic the setting of TTS. Patch-clamp technique, polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and Fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) were employed for the study. High concentration Epi suppressed the depolarization velocity, prolonged duration of action potentials and induced arrhythmic events in hiPSC-CMs. The Epi effects were attenuated by an alpha-adrenoceptor blocker (phentolamine), suggesting involvement of alpha-adrenoceptor signalling in arrhythmogenesis related to QT interval prolongation in the setting of TTS. An alpha 1-adrenoceptor agonist (phenylephrine) but not an alpha 2-adrenoceptor agonist (clonidine) mimicked Epi effects. Epi enhanced ROS production, which could be attenuated by the alpha- adrenoceptor blocker. Treatment of cells with H2O2 (100 µM) mimicked the effects of Epi on action potentials and a reactive oxygen species (ROS)-blocker (N-acetyl-I-cysteine, 1 mM) prevented the Epi effects, indicating that the ROS signalling is involved in the alpha-adrenoceptor actions. Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate hydrogen (NADPH) oxidases were involved in alpha 1-adrenoceptor signalling. A protein kinase C (PKC) blocker suppressed the effects of Epi, phenylephrine and ROS as well, implying that PKC participated in alpha 1-adrenoceptor signalling and acted as a downstream factor of ROS. The abnormal action potentials resulted from alpha 1-adrenoceptor activation-induced dysfunctions of ion channels including the voltage-dependent Na+ and L-type Ca2+ channels.
    CONCLUSIONS: Alpha 1-adrenoceptor signalling plays important roles for arrhythmogenesis of TTS. Alpha-adrenoceptor blockers might be clinically helpful for treating arrhythmias in patients with TTS.
    Keywords:  Acquired long QT syndrome; Adrenoceptor; Catecholamine excess; Human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes; Takotsubo syndrome
  33. Am J Transl Res. 2021 ;13(2): 659-671
    Yang H, Shang X, Zhong G, Hong L, Li Z, Zhuang W, Cheng J.
      Berberine (BBR) confers potential cardioprotective effects. However, the relevant mechanisms underlying its regulation of cardiomyocyte survival following hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) treatment remain unknown. The present study investigated whether BBR could protect H/R by suppressing apoptosis and explored how TGF-β/Smad4 signaling pathway influenced H/R in vitro. Two cardiomyocyte cell lines-AC16 and H9c2- were treated with H/R and BBR. The survival and apoptosis of these two cell lines were assessed using the MTT and BrdU assays and western blotting (WB) and flow cytometry. Mitochondrial reactive oxygen species (ROS) and caspase (Cas)-3, Cas-8, and Cas-9 activation were evaluated using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay as well as WB. Compared to the control group, H/R resulted in notable cell apoptosis, whereas BBR treatment evidently counteracted the process. BBR also markedly suppressed H/R-triggered excessive mitochondrial ROS generation and inhibited Smad4 expression. Overexpressing Smad4 in BBR-treated H/R-exposed cardiomyocytes reversed the effect of BBR treatment on apoptosis. Therefore, BBR protects H/R-treated cardiomyocytes from apoptosis by inhibiting the TGF-β/Smad4 signaling pathway.
    Keywords:  BBR; TGF-β/smad4 pathway; apoptosis; cardiomyocytes; hypoxia/reoxygenation
  34. Mol Cell Biochem. 2021 Feb 19.
    Chai Q, Meng Z, Lu D, Zhang Z, Liu M, Wu W.
      Cardiomyocyte death is an important pathogenic process in cardiac complications of diabetes. Diabetic patients often suffer glycemic variability. Pyroptosis is a form of programmed cell death triggered by inflammasomes and related with caspase-1 and gasdermin D activation. The present study was designed to examine the effects of intermittent high glucose simulating glycemic variability on the pyroptosis of cardiomyocytes in vitro. Rat H9C2 cardiomyocytes were incubated with normal glucose (NG), constant high glucose (CHG) and intermittent high glucose (IHG). Results showed that compared to CHG treatment, IHG further inhibited cell proliferation and promoted cell death of H9C2 cardiomyocytes. In addition, IHG upregulated higher levels of the expressions of inflammasome NLR family pyrin domain containing 3 (NLRP3) and adaptor protein apoptosis-associated speck-like protein containing CARD domain (ASC) and increased higher levels of activated caspase-1 and gasdermin D than CHG treatment. Moreover, the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and activation of NF-κB that is induced by IHG were significantly higher than that induced by CHG. Knockdown of sodium-glucose cotransporters 1 (SGLT1) in H9C2 cardiomyocytes was performed and the effects of SGLT1 on IHG-induced pyroptosis was evaluated. The results demonstrated that knockdown of SGLT1 partially reduced IHG-induced pyroptosis, ROS generation and NF-κB activation. Our results indicated that IHG is harmful to cardiomyocytes and it might be partially because of the SGLT1-depedent pyroptosis in cardiomyocytes.
    Keywords:  Cardiomyocytes; Intermittent high glucose; Pyroptosis; SGLT1
  35. J Cell Physiol. 2021 Jan 28.
    Mardomi A, Limoni SK, Rahbarghazi R, Mohammadi N, Khorashadizadeh M, Ranjbaran H, Nataj HH, Jafari N, Hasani B, Abediankenari S.
      Although the autologously transplanted cells are immunologically durable, allogeneic cell transplantation is inevitable in a series of cases. Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are one of the suitable candidates for cardiac tissue regeneration that have been shown to acquire immunogenicity concurrent with cardiomyogenic differentiation. The present study aimed to exploit PD-L1, as a key immunomodulatory checkpoint ligand to protect the MSCs-derived cardiomyocyte-like cells (CLCs) against the detrimental alloimmunity. Mouse bone marrow-derived MSCs were stably transduced to overexpress PD-L1. MSCs were in vitro differentiated into CLCs and the expressions of immunologic molecules were compared between MSCs and CLCs. The in vitro and in vivo allogeneic immune responses were also examined. The differentiated CLCs had higher expressions of MHC-I and CD80. Upon in vitro coculture with allogeneic splenocytes, CLCs caused more CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation, lymphocyte proliferation, and interferon-γ (IFN-γ) release in comparison to MSCs. PD-L1 overexpression on CLCs decreased the activation of CD8+ T cells, proliferation of lymphocytes, and release of IFN-γ. The PD-L1-overexpressing CLCs elicited lower in vivo CD4+ and CD8+ T cell activation and reduced the anti-donor antibody response accompanied by increased durability and reduced T cell infiltration. The present study verified the potential of PD-L1 overexpression as a preparative strategy for the protection of allogeneic MSCs-derived CLCs against the detrimental alloreaction.
    Keywords:  MSCs; PD-L1; cardiac regeneration; immune-checkpoint; tolerance induction