bims-cesiha Biomed News
on Cell signalling in the heart
Issue of 2021‒04‒04
sixteen papers selected by
Danae Angelidaki
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

  1. Sci Signal. 2021 Mar 30. pii: eabb5968. [Epub ahead of print]14(676):
      Aberrant changes in gene expression underlie the pathogenesis and progression of pressure-overload heart failure, leading to maladaptive cardiac hypertrophy, ventricular remodeling, and contractile dysfunction. Signaling through the G protein Gq triggers maladaptation and heart failure, in part through the activation of G protein-coupled receptor kinase 5 (GRK5). Hypertrophic stimuli induce the accumulation of GRK5 in the nuclei of cardiomyocytes, where it regulates pathological gene expression through multiple transcription factors including NFAT. The nuclear targeting of GRK5 is mediated by an amino-terminal (NT) domain that binds to calmodulin (CaM). Here, we sought to prevent GRK5-mediated pathology in pressure-overload maladaptation and heart failure by expressing in cardiomyocytes a peptide encoding the GRK5 NT (GRK5nt) that encompasses the CaM binding domain. In cultured cardiomyocytes, GRK5nt expression abrogated Gq-coupled receptor-mediated hypertrophy, including attenuation of pathological gene expression and the transcriptional activity of NFAT and NF-κB. We confirmed that GRK5nt bound to and blocked Ca2+-CaM from associating with endogenous GRK5, thereby preventing GRK5 nuclear accumulation after pressure overload. We generated mice that expressed GRKnt in a cardiac-specific fashion (TgGRK5nt mice), which exhibited reduced cardiac hypertrophy, ventricular dysfunction, pulmonary congestion, and cardiac fibrosis after chronic transverse aortic constriction. Together, our data support a role for GRK5nt as an inhibitor of pathological GRK5 signaling that prevents heart failure.
  2. Cardiovasc Res. 2021 Apr 01. pii: cvab123. [Epub ahead of print]
      AIMS: Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a multifactorial disease characterized by an early onset of diastolic dysfunction (DD) that precedes the development of systolic impairment. Mechanisms that can restore cardiac relaxation improving intracellular Ca2+ dynamics represent a promising therapeutic approach for cardiovascular diseases associated to DD. Istaroxime has the dual properties to accelerate Ca2+ uptake into sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) through the SR Ca2+ pump (SERCA2a) stimulation and to inhibit Na+/K+ ATPase (NKA). This project aims to characterize istaroxime effects at a concentration (100 nmol/L) marginally affecting NKA, in order to highlight its effects dependent on the stimulation of SERCA2a in an animal model of mild diabetes.METHODS AND RESULTS: Streptozotocin (STZ) treated diabetic rats were studied at 9 weeks after STZ injection in comparison to controls (CTR). Istaroxime effects were evaluated in vivo and in left ventricular (LV) preparations. STZ animals showed 1) marked DD not associated to cardiac fibrosis, 2) LV mass reduction associated to reduced LV cell dimension and T-tubules loss, 3) reduced LV SERCA2 protein level and activity and 4) slower SR Ca2+ uptake rate, 5) LV action potential (AP) prolongation and increased short-term variability (STV) of AP duration, 6) increased diastolic Ca2+, and 7) unaltered SR Ca2+ content and stability in intact cells. Acute istaroxime infusion (0.11 mg/kg/min for 15 min) reduced DD in STZ rats. Accordingly, in STZ myocytes istaroxime (100 nmol/L) stimulated SERCA2a activity and blunted STZ-induced abnormalities in LV Ca2+ dynamics. In CTR myocytes, istaroxime increased diastolic Ca2+ level due to NKA blockade albeit minimal, while its effects on SERCA2a were almost absent.
    CONCLUSIONS: SERCA2a stimulation by istaroxime improved STZ-induced DD and intracellular Ca2+ handling anomalies. Thus, SERCA2a stimulation can be considered a promising therapeutic approach for DD treatment.
    TRANSLATIONAL PERSPECTIVE: Deficient sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ uptake has been identified in cardiomyocytes from failing human hearts with impaired diastolic relaxation (e.g. diabetic hearts) and has been associated with a decreased SERCA2a expression and activity and/or with a higher SERCA2a inhibition by phospholamban. Thus, SERCA2a may represent a pharmacological target for interventions aimed at improving cytosolic Ca2+ compartmentalization into the SR to limit diastolic dysfunction pathologies. In this context, istaroxime is the first-in-class luso-inotropic agent targeting SERCA2a that has already demonstrated its efficacy in clinical trials and may be useful to clarify the relevance of SERCA2a stimulation in controlling cytosolic Ca2+ level.
  3. Acta Pharmacol Sin. 2021 Mar 30.
      Harmine is a β-carboline alkaloid isolated from Banisteria caapi and Peganum harmala L with various pharmacological activities, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, anti-depressant, and anti-leishmanial capabilities. Nevertheless, the pharmacological effect of harmine on cardiomyocytes and heart muscle has not been reported. Here we found a protective effect of harmine on cardiac hypertrophy in spontaneously hypertensive rats in vivo. Further, harmine could inhibit the phenotypes of norepinephrine-induced hypertrophy in human embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes in vitro. It reduced the enlarged cell surface area, reversed the increased calcium handling and contractility, and downregulated expression of hypertrophy-related genes in norepinephrine-induced hypertrophy of human cardiomyocytes derived from embryonic stem cells. We further showed that one of the potential underlying mechanism by which harmine alleviates cardiac hypertrophy relied on inhibition of NF-κB phosphorylation and the stimulated inflammatory cytokines in pathological ventricular remodeling. Our data suggest that harmine is a promising therapeutic agent for cardiac hypertrophy independent of blood pressure modulation and could be a promising addition of current medications for cardiac hypertrophy.
    Keywords:  NE; SHR; cardiac hypertrophy; hESCs-derived cardiomyocytes; harmine; inflammatory
  4. Semin Cell Dev Biol. 2021 Mar 26. pii: S1084-9521(21)00043-4. [Epub ahead of print]
      Organoids, or miniaturized organs formed in vitro, hold potential to revolutionize how researchers approach and answer fundamental biological and pathological questions. In the context of cardiac biology, development of a bona fide cardiac organoid enables study of heart development, function, and pathogenesis in a dish, providing insight into the nature of congenital heart disease and offering the opportunity for high-throughput probing of adult heart disease and drug discovery. Recently, multiple groups have reported novel methods for generating in vitro models of the heart; however, there are substantial conceptual and methodological differences. In this review we will evaluate recent cardiac organoid studies through the lens of the core principles of organoid technology: patterned self-organization of multiple cell types resembling the in vivo organ. Based on this, we will classify systems into the following related types of tissues: developmental cardiac organoids, chamber cardiac organoids, microtissues, and engineered heart tissues. Furthermore, we highlight the interventions which allow for organoid formation, such as modulation of highly conserved cardiogenic signaling pathways mediated by developmental morphogens. We expect that consolidation and categorization of existing organoid models will help eliminate confusion in the field and facilitate progress towards creation of an ideal cardiac organoid.
    Keywords:  Cardiac organoid; Engineered heart tissue; Gastruloid; Self-organization
  5. Biomed Res Int. 2021 ;2021 6615502
      Cardiac hypertrophy (CH) is a common cause of sudden cardiac death and heart failure, resulting in a significant medical burden. The present study is aimed at exploring potential CH-related pathways and the key downstream effectors. The gene expression profile of GSE129090 was obtained from the Gene Expression Omnibus database (GEO), and 1325 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) were identified, including 785 upregulated genes and 540 downregulated genes. Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes (KEGG) and Reactome pathway enrichment analysis of DEGs were then performed. Although there were no pathways enriched by downregulated genes, many CH-related pathways were identified by upregulated genes, including PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, extracellular matrix- (ECM-) receptor interaction, regulation of actin cytoskeleton, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). In the deeper analysis of PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, we found all the signaling transduction pointed to B cell lymphoma-2- (Bcl-2-) mediated cell survival. We then demonstrated that PI3K-Akt signaling pathway was indeed activated in cardiac hypertrophy. Furthermore, no matter LY294002, an inhibitor of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway, or Venetoclax, a selective Bcl-2 inhibitor, protected against cardiac hypertrophy. In conclusion, these data indicate that Bcl-2 is involved in cardiac hypertrophy as a key downstream effector of PI3K-Akt signaling pathway, suggesting a potential therapeutic target for the clinical management of cardiac hypertrophy.
  6. iScience. 2021 Mar 19. 24(3): 102232
      Right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH) occurs in high pressure afterload, e.g., tetralogy of Fallot/pulmonary stenosis (TOF/PS). Such RVH is associated with alterations in energy metabolism, neurohormonal and epigenetic dysregulation (e.g., microRNA), and fetal gene reprogramming in animal models. However, comprehensive expression profiling of competing endogenous RNA in human RVH has not been performed. Here, we unravel several previously unknown circular, long non-coding, and microRNAs, predicted to regulate expression of genes specific to human RVH in the non-failing heart (TOF/PS). These genes are significantly overrepresented in pathways related to regulation of glucose and lipid metabolism (SIK1, FABP4), cell surface interactions (THBS2, FN1), apoptosis (PIK3IP1, SIK1), extracellular matrix composition (CTGF, IGF1), and other biological events. This is the first unbiased RNA sequencing study of human compensated RVH encompassing coding and non-coding RNA expression and predicted sponging of miRNAs by non-coding RNAs. These findings advance our understanding of adaptive RVH and highlight future therapeutic targets.
    Keywords:  Molecular Biology; Omics
  7. J Cardiovasc Dev Dis. 2021 Mar 02. pii: 26. [Epub ahead of print]8(3):
      Among the three transforming growth factor beta (TGFβ) ligands, TGFβ2 is essential for heart development and is produced by multiple cell types, including myocardium. Heterozygous mutations in TGFB2 in patients of connective tissue disorders result in congenital heart defects and adult valve malformations, including mitral valve prolapse (MVP) with or without regurgitation. Tgfb2 germline knockout fetuses exhibit multiple cardiac defects but the role of myocardial-TGFβ2 in heart development is yet to be elucidated. Here, myocardial Tgfb2 conditional knockout (CKO) embryos were generated by crossing Tgfb2flox mice with Tgfb2+/-; cTntCre mice. Tgfb2flox/- embryos were normal, viable. Cell fate mapping was done using dual-fluorescent mT/mG+/- mice. Cre-mediated Tgfb2 deletion was assessed by genomic PCR. RNAscope in situ hybridization was used to detect the loss of myocardial Tgfb2 expression. Histological, morphometric, immunohistochemical, and in situ hybridization analyses of CKOs and littermate controls at different stages of heart development (E12.5-E18.5) were used to determine the role of myocardium-derived TGFβ2 in atrioventricular (AV) cushion remodeling and myocardial development. CKOs exhibit a thin ventricular myocardium, AV cushion remodeling defects and developed incomplete AV septation defects. The loss of myocardial Tgfb2 resulted in impaired cushion maturation and dysregulated cell death. Phosphorylated SMAD2, a surrogate for TGFβ signaling, was "paradoxically" increased in both AV cushion mesenchyme and ventricular myocardium in the CKOs. Our results indicate that TGFβ2 produced by cardiomyocytes acting as cells autonomously on myocardium and via paracrine signaling on AV cushions are required for heart development.
    Keywords:  AVSD; SMAD2; TGFβ2; atrioventricular cushion; mitral valve; myocardium
  8. Free Radic Biol Med. 2021 Mar 28. pii: S0891-5849(21)00179-9. [Epub ahead of print]
      The fundamental physiology of circulating red blood cells (RBCs) and platelets involving regulation of oxygen transport and hemostasis, respectively, are well-described in the literature. Their abundance in the circulation and their interaction with the vascular wall and each other have attracted the attention of other putative physiological and pathophysiological effects of these cells. RBCs and platelets are both important regulators of redox balance harboring powerful pro-oxidant and anti-oxidant (enzymatic and non-enzymatic) capacities. They are also involved in the regulation of vascular tone mainly via export of nitric oxide bioactivity and adenosine triphosphate. Of further importance are emerging observations that these cells undergo functional alterations when exposed to risk factors for cardiovascular disease and during developed cardiometabolic diseases. Under these conditions, the RBCs and platelets contribute to increased oxidative stress by their formation of reactive species including superoxide anion radical, hydrogen peroxide and peroxynitrite. These alterations trigger key changes in the vascular wall characterized by enhanced oxidative stress, reduced nitric oxide bioavailability and endothelial dysfunction. Additional pathophysiological effects are triggered in the heart resulting in increased susceptibility to ischemia-reperfusion injury with impairment in cardiac function. Pharmacological interventions aiming at restoring circulating cell function has been shown to exert marked beneficial effects on cardiovascular function. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of RBC and platelet biology with special focus on redox biology, their roles in the development of cardiovascular disease and potential therapeutic strategies targeting RBC and platelet dysfunction. Finally, the complex and scarcely understood interaction between RBCs and platelets will be discussed.
    Keywords:  Anemia; Arginase; Atherosclerosis; Erythrocyte; Nitric oxide; Oxidative stress; Reactive species
  9. Circulation. 2021 Apr 01.
      Background: Mutations in tafazzin (TAZ), a gene required for biogenesis of cardiolipin, the signature phospholipid of the inner mitochondrial membrane, causes Barth syndrome (BTHS). Cardiomyopathy and risk of sudden cardiac death are prominent features of BTHS, but the mechanisms by which impaired cardiolipin biogenesis causes cardiac muscle weakness and arrhythmia are poorly understood. Methods: We performed in vivo electrophysiology to define arrhythmia vulnerability in cardiac specific TAZ knockout mice. Using cardiomyocytes derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC-CMs) and cardiac specific TAZ knockout mice as model systems, we investigated the effect of TAZ inactivation on Ca2+ handling. Through genome editing and pharmacology, we defined a molecular link between TAZ mutation and abnormal Ca2+ handling and contractility. Results: A subset of mice with cardiac-specific TAZ inactivation developed arrhythmias including bidirectional ventricular tachycardia, atrial tachycardia, and complete atrioventricular block. Compared to WT, BTHS iPSC-CMs had increased diastolic Ca2+ and decreased Ca2+ transient amplitude. BTHS iPSC-CMs had higher levels of mitochondrial and cellular ROS than WT, which activated Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII). Activated CaMKII phosphorylated the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RYR2) on serine 2814, increasing Ca2+ leak through RYR2. Inhibition of this ROS-CaMKII-RYR2 pathway through pharmacological inhibitors or genome editing normalized aberrant Ca2+ handling in BTHS iPSC-CMs and improved their contractile function. Murine Taz knockout cardiomyocytes also exhibited elevated diastolic Ca2+ and decreased Ca2+ transient amplitude. These abnormalities were ameliorated by CaMKII or ROS inhibition. Conclusions: This study identified a molecular pathway that links TAZ mutation to abnormal Ca2+ handling and decreased cardiomyocyte contractility. This pathway may offer therapeutic opportunities to treat BTHS and potentially other diseases with elevated mitochondrial ROS production.
    Keywords:  Barth syndrome; cardiolipin; iPSC-CM; mitochondrial disease cardiomyopathy
  10. Br J Pharmacol. 2021 Mar 31.
      Mammalian models including non-human primates, pigs and rodents have been used extensively to study the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease. However, there is an increasing desire for alternative model systems that provide excellent scientific value while replacing or reducing the use of mammals. Here we review the use of zebrafish, Danio rerio, to study cardiovascular development and disease. The anatomy and physiology of zebrafish and mammalian cardiovascular systems are compared, and we describe the use of zebrafish models in studying the mechanisms of cardiac (e.g. congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy, conduction disorders, regeneration) and vascular (endothelial dysfunction and atherosclerosis, lipid metabolism, vascular ageing, neurovascular physiology and stroke) pathologies. We also review the use of zebrafish for studying pharmacological responses to cardiovascular drugs, and describe several features of zebrafish that make them a compelling model for in vivo screening of compounds for the treatment cardiovascular disease.
  11. Stem Cell Reports. 2021 Mar 23. pii: S2213-6711(21)00133-8. [Epub ahead of print]
      Identifying lineage-specific markers is pivotal for understanding developmental processes and developing cell therapies. Here, we investigated the functioning of a cardiomyogenic cell-surface marker, latrophilin-2 (LPHN2), an adhesion G-protein-coupled receptor, in cardiac differentiation. LPHN2 was selectively expressed in cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) and cardiomyocytes (CMCs) during mouse and human pluripotent stem cell (PSC) differentiation; cell sorting with an anti-LPHN2 antibody promoted the isolation of populations highly enriched in CPCs and CMCs. Lphn2 knockdown or knockout PSCs did not express cardiac genes. We used the Phospho Explorer Antibody Array, which encompasses nearly all known signaling pathways, to assess molecular mechanisms underlying LPHN2-induced cardiac differentiation. LPHN2-dependent phosphorylation was the strongest for cyclin-dependent kinase 5 (CDK5) at Tyr15. We identified CDK5, Src, and P38MAPK as key downstream molecules of LPHN2 signaling. These findings provide a valuable strategy for isolating CPCs and CMCs from PSCs and insights into the still-unknown cardiac differentiation mechanisms.
    Keywords:  G-protein-coupled receptor; cardiac differentiation; marker; signaling; stem cells
  12. Circulation. 2021 Apr 01.
      Background: The role of epicardial fat (eFat)-derived extracellular vesicles (EVs) in the pathogenesis of atrial fibrillation (AF) has never been studied. We tested the hypothesis that eFat-EVs transmit proinflammatory, profibrotic, and proarrhythmic molecules that induce atrial myopathy and fibrillation. Methods: We collected eFat specimens from patients with (n=32) and without AF (n=30) during elective heart surgery. eFat samples were grown as organ cultures, and the culture medium was collected every two days. We then isolated and purified eFat-EVs from the culture medium, and analyzed the EV number, size, morphology, specific markers, encapsulated cytokines, proteome, and miRNAs. Next, we evaluated the biological effects of unpurified and purified EVs on atrial mesenchymal stromal cells (MSCs) and endothelial cells (ECs) in vitro. To establish a causal association between eFat-EVs and vulnerability to AF, we modeled AF in vitro using induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (iCMs). Results: Microscopic examination revealed excessive inflammation, fibrosis, and apoptosis in fresh and cultured eFat tissues. Cultured explants from patients with AF secreted more EVs and harbored greater amounts of proinflammatory and profibrotic cytokines, as well as profibrotic miRNA, than those without AF. The proteomic analysis confirmed the distinctive profile of purified eFat-EVs from patients with AF. In vitro, purified and unpurified eFat-EVs from patients with AF had a greater effect on proliferation and migration of human MSCs and ECs, compared to eFat-EVs from patients without AF. Finally, while eFat-EVs from patients with and without AF shortened the action potential duration of iCMs, only eFat-EVs from patients with AF induced sustained reentry (rotor) in iCMs. Conclusions: We show, for the first time, a distinctive proinflammatory, profibrotic, and proarrhythmic signature of eFat-EVs from patients with AF. Our findings uncover another pathway by which eFat promotes the development of atrial myopathy and fibrillation.
    Keywords:  ACE2; epicardial fat; exosomes; extracellular vesicles
  13. Nanomedicine. 2021 Mar 24. pii: S1549-9634(21)00028-9. [Epub ahead of print] 102385
      Inflammation is a central mechanism in cardiovascular diseases (CVD), where sustained oxidative stress and immune responses contribute to cardiac remodeling and impairment. Exosomes are extracellular vesicles released by cells to communicate with their surroundings and to modulate the tissue microenvironment. Recent evidence indicates their potential as cell-free immunomodulatory therapeutics for CVD, preventing cell death and fibrosis while inducing wound healing and angiogenesis. Biomimetic exosomes are semi-synthetic particles engineered using essential moieties present in natural exosomes (lipids, RNA, proteins) to reproduce their therapeutic effects while improving on scalability and standardization due to the ample range of moieties available to produce them. In this review, we provide an up-to-date description of the use of exosomes for CVD and offer our vision on the areas of opportunity for the development of biomimetic strategies. We also discuss the current limitations to overcome in the process towards their translation into clinic.
    Keywords:  Biomimetic; Cardiovascular disease; Cell therapy; Exosome; Extracellular vesicle; Immunomodulation
  14. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Apr 06. pii: e2025333118. [Epub ahead of print]118(14):
      The contraction of heart cells is controlled by the intermolecular signaling between L-type Ca2+ channels (LCCs) and ryanodine receptors (RyRs), and the nanodistance between them depends on the interaction between junctophilin-2 (JPH2) in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and caveolin-3 (CAV3) in the transversal tubule (TT). In heart failure, decreased expression of JPH2 compromises LCC-RyR communication leading to deficient blood-pumping power. In the present study, we found that JPH2 and CAV3 transcription was concurrently regulated by serum response factor (SRF) and myocardin. In cardiomyocytes from torpid ground squirrels, compared with those from euthermic counterparts, myocardin expression was up-regulated, which boosted both JPH2 and CAV3 expression. Transmission electron microscopic imaging showed that the physical coupling between TTs and SRs was tightened during hibernation and after myocardin overexpression. Confocal Ca2+ imaging under the whole-cell patch clamp condition revealed that these changes enhanced the efficiency of LCC-RyR intermolecular signaling and fully compensated the adaptive down-regulation of LCCs, maintaining the power of heart contraction while avoiding the risk of calcium overload during hibernation. Our finding not only revealed an essential molecular mechanism underlying the survival of hibernating mammals, but also demonstrated a "reverse model of heart failure" at the molecular level, suggesting a strategy for treating heart diseases.
    Keywords:  calcium signal; coupling; excitation-contraction; hibernation; ion channel
  15. Cell Death Dis. 2021 Apr 01. 12(4): 339
      Doxorubicin is a chemotherapeutic drug used for the treatment of various malignancies; however, patients can experience cardiotoxic effects and this has limited the use of this potent drug. The mechanisms by which doxorubicin kills cardiomyocytes has been elusive and despite extensive research the exact mechanisms remain unknown. This review focuses on recent advances in our understanding of doxorubicin induced regulated cardiomyocyte death pathways including autophagy, ferroptosis, necroptosis, pyroptosis and apoptosis. Understanding the mechanisms by which doxorubicin leads to cardiomyocyte death may help identify novel therapeutic agents and lead to more targeted approaches to cardiotoxicity testing.
  16. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2021 ;2021 9570325
      With research progress on longevity, we have gradually recognized that cardiac aging causes changes in heart structure and function, including progressive myocardial remodeling, left ventricular hypertrophy, and decreases in systolic and diastolic function. Elucidating the regulatory mechanisms of cardiac aging is a great challenge for biologists and physicians worldwide. In this review, we discuss several key molecular mechanisms of cardiac aging and possible prevention and treatment methods developed in recent years. Insights into the process and mechanism of cardiac aging are necessary to protect against age-related diseases, extend lifespan, and reduce the increasing burden of cardiovascular disease in elderly individuals. We believe that research on cardiac aging is entering a new era of unique significance for the progress of clinical medicine and social welfare.