Alternatively spliced tissue factor (asTF) is a novel isoform of full-length tissue factor, which exhibits angiogenic activity. Although asTF has been detected in human plaques, it is unknown whether its expression in atherosclerosis causes increased neovascularization and an advanced plaque phenotype.
Lipotoxic cardiomyopathy is caused by myocardial lipid accumulation and often occurs in patients with diabetes and obesity. This study investigated the effects of ?-lapachone (?-lap), a natural compound that activates Sirt1 through elevation of the intracellular NAD+ level, on acyl CoA synthase (ACS) transgenic (Tg) mice, which have lipotoxic cardiomyopathy. Oral administration of ?-lap to ACS Tg mice significantly attenuated heart failure and inhibited myocardial accumulation of triacylglycerol. Electron microscopy and measurement of mitochondrial complex II protein and mitochondrial DNA revealed that administration of ?-lap restored mitochondrial integrity and biogenesis in ACS Tg hearts. Accordingly, ?-lap administration significantly increased the expression of genes associated with mitochondrial biogenesis and fatty acid metabolism that were down-regulated in ACS Tg hearts. ?-lap also restored the activities of Sirt1 and AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), the two key regulators of metabolism, which were suppressed in ACS Tg hearts. In H9C2 cells, ?-lap-mediated elevation of AMPK activity was retarded when the level of Sirt1 was reduced by transfection of siRNA against Sirt1. Taken together, these results indicate that ?-lap exerts cardioprotective effects against cardiac lipotoxicity through the activation of Sirt1 and AMPK. ?-lap may be a novel therapeutic agent for the treatment of lipotoxic cardiomyopathy.
Cucurbitacin B, a member of the cucurbitaceae family, can act as a STAT3 signaling inhibitor to regulate the growth of hepatocellular carcinoma. STAT3 signaling has been shown to inhibit adipocyte differentiation through C/EBP? and PPAR?. Based on these studies, we hypothesized that cucurbitacin B would prevent PPAR? mediated adipocyte differentiation through STAT3 signaling. To test this hypothesis, mesenchymal C3H10T1/2 and 3T3-L1 preadipocyte cells were treated with a sub-cytotoxic concentration of cucurbitacin B. Cucurbitacin B treatment inhibits lipid accumulation and expression of adipocyte markers including PPAR? and its target genes in a dose-dependent manner. Cucurbitacin B treatment impairs STAT3 signaling as manifested by reduced phosphorylation of STAT3 and suppression of STAT3 target gene expression in preadipocytes. The anti-adipogenic effects of cucurbitacin B are significantly blunted in cells with STAT3 silenced by introducing small interfering RNA. Finally, our data show that cucurbitacin I, another cucurbitacin family member, also inhibits adipocyte differentiation by suppressing STAT3 signaling. Together, our data suggest the possibility of utilizing cucurbitacins as a new strategy to treat metabolic diseases and implicate STAT3 as a new target for the development of functional foods and drugs.
Mitochondria are key organelles dedicated to energy production. Crif1, which interacts with the large subunit of the mitochondrial ribosome, is indispensable for the mitochondrial translation and membrane insertion of respiratory subunits. To explore the physiological function of Crif1 in the heart, Crif1(f/f) mice were crossed with Myh6-cre/Esr1 transgenic mice, which harbor cardiomyocyte-specific Cre activity in a tamoxifen-dependent manner. The tamoxifen injections were given at six weeks postnatal, and the mutant mice survived only five months due to hypertrophic heart failure. In the mutant cardiac muscles, mitochondrial mass dramatically increased, while the inner structure was altered with lack of cristae. Mutant cardiac muscles showed decreased rates of oxygen consumption and ATP production, suggesting that Crif1 plays a critical role in the maintenance of both mitochondrial structure and respiration in cardiac muscles.
Despite its significant clinical implications, physiological hypertrophy remains poorly understood. In this study, the transcription coactivator Eya2 was shown to be up-regulated during physiological hypertrophy. Transgene- or adenovirus-mediated overexpression of Eya2 led to up-regulation of mTOR, a critical mediator of physiological hypertrophy. Luciferase reporter and chromatin immunoprecipitation assays revealed that Eya2 directly binds to and activates mTOR expression. The phosphorylation of mTOR downstream molecules was significantly enhanced in Eya2 transgenic (TG) hearts, implying that the Eya2-mediated induction of mTOR expression leads to an elevated mTOR activity. The transcription factor Six1 was also up-regulated during physiological hypertrophy and formed a complex with Eya2. Luciferase reporter and electrophoretic mobility shift assays revealed that the Eya2-Six1 complex binds to and enhances the expression of mTOR in a synergistic manner. Under pressure overload, Eya2 transgenic hearts developed hypertrophy which exhibited important molecular signatures of physiological hypertrophy, as assessed by gene expression profiling and measurements of expression levels of physiological hypertrophy-related genes by quantitative (q) RT-PCR. Examination of heart sections under electron microscopy revealed that the mitochondrial integrity remained largely intact in Eya2 transgenic mice, but not in wild-type littermates, under pressure overload. This finding was confirmed by measurements of mitochondrial DNA contents and the expression levels of mitochondrial function-related genes by qRT-PCR. These data suggest that Eya2 in a physical complex with Six1 plays a critical role in physiological hypertrophy. The cardioprotective effect of Eya2 appears to be due, at least in part, to its preservation of mitochondrial integrity upon pressure overload.
Notch-1 (Notch) is a cell surface receptor that regulates cell-fate decisions in the developing nervous system, and it may also have roles in synaptic plasticity in the adult brain. Binding of its ligands results in the proteolytic cleavage of Notch by the ?-secretase enzyme complex, thereby causing the release of a Notch intracellular domain (NICD) that translocates to the nucleus, in which it regulates transcription. Here we show that activation of Notch modulates ischemic neuronal cell death in vitro and in vivo. Specifically, our findings from the use of Notch-1 siRNA or the overexpression of NICD indicate that Notch activation contributes to cell death. Using modified NICD, we demonstrate an apoptosis-inducing function of NICD in both the nucleus and the cytosol. NICD transfection-induced cell death was reduced by blockade of calcium signaling, caspase activation, and Janus kinase signaling. Inhibition of the Notch-activating enzyme, ?-secretase, protected against ischemic neuronal cell death by targeting an apoptotic protease, cleaved caspase-3, nuclear factor-?B (NF-?B), and the pro-death BH3-only protein, Bcl-2-interacting mediator of cell death (Bim). Treatment of mice with a ?-secretase inhibitor, compound E, reduced infarct size and improved functional outcome in a model of focal ischemic stroke. Furthermore, ?-secretase inhibition reduced NICD, p-p65, and Bim levels in vivo. These findings suggest that Notch signaling endangers neurons after ischemic stroke by modulating the NF-?B, pro-death protein Bim, and caspase pathways.
Chronic alcohol consumption contributes to numerous diseases, including cancers, cardiovascular diseases, and liver cirrhosis. Epidemiological studies have shown that excessive alcohol consumption is a risk factor for dementia. Along this line, Alzheimers disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and is caused by the accumulation of amyloid-? (A? plaques in neurons. In this study, we hypothesized that chronic ethanol consumption is associated with pathological processing of APP in AD. To investigate the relationship between chronic alcohol consumption and A? production, brain samples from rats fed an alcohol liquid diet for 5 weeks were analyzed. We show that the expression levels of APP, BACE1, and immature nicastrin were increased in the cerebellum, hippocampus, and striatum of the alcohol-fed group compared to the control group. Total nicastrin and PS1 levels were induced in the hippocampus of alcohol-fed rats. These data suggest that the altered expression of APP and A?-producing enzymes possibly contributes to the chronic alcohol consumption-mediated pathogenesis of AD.
CCN family members are matricellular proteins with diverse roles in cell function. The differential expression of CCN2 and CCN5 during cardiac remodeling suggests that these two members of the CCN family play opposing roles during the development of cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis. We aimed to evaluate the role of CCN2 and CCN5 in the development of cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis. In isolated cardiomyocytes, overexpression of CCN2 induced hypertrophic growth, whereas the overexpression of CCN5 inhibited both phenylephrine (PE)- and CCN2-induced hypertrophic responses. Deletion of the C-terminal (CT) domain of CCN2 transformed CCN2 into a CCN5-like dominant negative molecule. Fusion of the CT domain to the Carboxy-terminus of CCN5 transformed CCN5 into a CCN2-like pro-hypertrophic molecule. CCN2 transgenic (TG) mice did not develop cardiac hypertrophy at baseline but showed significantly increased fibrosis in response to pressure overload. In contrast, hypertrophy and fibrosis were both significantly inhibited in CCN5 TG mice. CCN2 TG mice showed an accelerated deterioration of cardiac function in response to pressure overload, whereas CCN5 TG mice showed conserved cardiac function. TGF-beta-SMAD signaling was elevated in CCN2 TG mice, but was inhibited in CCN5 TG mice. CCN2 is pro-hypertrophic and -fibrotic, whereas CCN5 is anti-hypertrophic and -fibrotic. CCN5 lacking the CT domain acts as a dominant negative molecule. CCN5 may provide a novel therapeutic target for the treatment of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.
Eyes absent 2 (Eya2) is a transcription factor involved in a number of cellular and developmental processes. We have previously shown that Eya2 is up-regulated during regression of cardiac hypertrophy and blocks phenylephrine-induced development of cardiomyocyte hypertrophy in vitro, suggesting that Eya2 is a negative regulator of cardiac hypertrophy. In this study, we generated transgenic mice with cardiac-specific overexpression of Eya2 to elucidate the in vivo function of Eya2 in cardiac remodeling. Mild cardiac hypertrophy developed in Eya2 transgenic mice under baseline conditions with no obvious structural or functional defects. Eya2 overexpression inhibited development of cardiac hypertrophy as judged by the abrogation of increases in heart weight and cross-sectional cell surface areas and re-activation of fetal genes under pressure overload (4 weeks). Eya2 overexpression also prevented wall thinning, ventricular dilation, and deterioration of cardiac function as well as fibrosis and inflammation in the heart under long-term pressure overload (12 weeks). Gene expression profiling using the parametric analysis of gene set enrichment (PAGE) method revealed that gene sets related to mitochondrial biogenesis and metabolism were elevated in the Eya2 transgenic mice. We also observed that the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling cascade was preserved in the Eya2 transgenic mice, while it was significantly reduced in the wild type littermates under pressure overload. These results demonstrate that Eya2 prevents adverse cardiac remodeling under pressure overload partly through altering metabolic gene expression and preserving PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway.
Silk fibroins are biomaterials that have been applied to surgical sutures, drug delivery systems, food supplements, and tissue engineering. Studies have shown the antiadipogenic effects of silk proteins in 3T3-L1 cells and obese mice. Furthermore, other studies have shown that silk proteins increase osteogenic marker expression in osteoblast-like cells. Because osteogenic and adipogenic differentiation from common mesenchymal progenitor cells are often regulated reciprocally, we hypothesized that silk proteins would stimulate osteoblast differentiation. The objective of this study was to evaluate the effects of silk proteins on promoting osteoblast differentiation and identify the underlying mechanism. We showed that silk proteins dose dependently stimulated alkaline phosphatase (ALP) activity, osteoblast differentiation, and induced expression of osteoblast markers in C3H10T1/2 and M2-10B4 multipotent cells. In addition, silk proteins also induced the expression of osteoblast markers in primary rat bone marrow cells isolated from tibiae. Molecular studies showed that silk proteins suppressed the expression of Notch-activated genes and blocked activation of the Notch-specific reporter. Similarly, inhibiting Notch signaling with pharmacologic inhibitors and by small interfering RNA-mediated Notch1 silencing also induced ALP activity and messenger RNA expression. Finally, induction of ALP activity and messenger RNA expression by silk proteins was blunted in Notch1 knock-downed cells, further demonstrating Notch signaling as an important mediator for the pro-osteogenic effects of silk proteins. Taken together, our data suggest that silk proteins may serve as functional foods to promote bone healing and therapeutic interventions for bone fractures and osteoporosis.
Cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA2a) plays a crucial role in Ca(2+) handling in cardiomyocytes. Phospholamban (PLB) is an endogenous inhibitor of SERCA2a and its inhibitory activity is enhanced via dephosphorylation by protein phosphatase 1 (PP1). Therefore, the inhibition of PP1-mediated dephosphorylation of PLB might be an efficient strategy for the restoration of reduced SERCA2a activity in failing hearts. We sought to develop decoy peptides that would mimic phosphorylated PLB and thus competitively inhibit the PP1-mediated dephosphorylation of endogenous PLB. The phosphorylation sites Ser16 and Thr17 are located within the flexible loop region (amino acids 14-22) of PLB. We therefore synthesized a 9-mer peptide derived from this region (?PLB-wt) and two pseudo-phosphorylated peptides where Ser16 was replaced with Glu (?PLB-SE) or Thr17 was replaced with Glu (?PLB-TE). These peptides were coupled to the cell-permeable peptide TAT to facilitate cellular uptake. Treatment of adult rat cardiomyocytes with ?PLB-SE or ?PLB-TE, but not with ?PLB-wt, significantly elevated the phosphorylation levels of PLB at Ser16 and Thr17. This increased phosphorylation of PLB correlated with an increase in contractile parameters in vitro. Furthermore, the perfusion of isolated rat hearts with ?PLB-SE or ?PLB-TE, but not with ?PLB-wt, significantly improved left ventricular developed pressure that had been previously impaired by ischemia. These data indicate that ?PLB-SE and ?PLB-TE efficiently prevented dephosphorylation of PLB by serving as decoys for PP1. Therefore, these peptides may provide an effective modality to regulate SERCA2a activity in failing hearts.
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous small noncoding RNA molecules that suppress gene expression via degradation or translational inhibition of their target genes. Many miRNAs are associated with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. In this study, we pursued to identify miRNAs that negatively regulate cardiac hypertrophy by utilizing a surgical model for regression of cardiac hypertrophy. Microarray analysis revealed that 15 miRNAs out of the 696 miRNAs tested were specifically up-regulated during the regression period. Among these regression-specific miRNAs, nine microRNAs, which have not been previously reported, were further tested for their effects on phenylephrine (PE)-treated neonatal cardiomyocytes. Consequently, five miRNAs (miR-101b, 142-3p, 181d, 24-2(?), and 450a) completely abrogated PE-induced hypertrophy as determined by measurements of cell size and fetal gene expression. Conversely, antagomers of these miRNAs exacerbated the PE-induced hypertrophy. Collectively, these findings suggest that the five miRNAs newly identified by using our cardiac hypertrophy-regression surgical model negatively regulate cardiac hypertrophy and could be used as potential therapeutic targets for the treatment of heart diseases.
Protein kinase C (PKC)-interacting cousin of thioredoxin (PICOT) has distinct anti-hypertrophic and inotropic functions. We have previously shown that PICOT exerts its anti-hypertrophic effect by inhibiting calcineurin-NFAT signaling through its C-terminal glutaredoxin domain. However, the mechanism underlying the inotropic effect of PICOT is unknown. The results of protein pull-down experiments showed that PICOT directly binds to the catalytic domain of PKC? through its N-terminal thioredoxin-like domain. Purified PICOT protein inhibited the kinase activity of PKC? in vitro, which indicated that PICOT is an endogenous inhibitor of PKC?. The inhibition of PKC? activity with a PKC?-specific pseudosubstrate peptide inhibitor was sufficient to increase the cardiac contractility in vitro and ex vivo. Overexpression of PICOT or inhibition of PKC? activity down-regulated PKC? activity, which led to the elevation of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA) 2a activity, concomitant with the increased phosphorylation of phospholamban (PLB). Overexpression of PICOT or inhibition of PKC? activity also down-regulated protein phosphatase (PP) 2A activity, which subsequently resulted in the increased phosphorylation of troponin (Tn) I and T, key myofilament proteins associated with the regulation of contractility. PICOT appeared to inhibit PP2A activity through the disruption of the functional PKC?/PP2A complex. In contrast to the overexpression of PICOT or inhibition of PKC?, reduced PICOT expression resulted in up-regulation of PKC? and PP2A activities, followed by decreased phosphorylation of PLB, and TnI and T, respectively, supporting the physiological relevance of these events. Transgene- or adeno-associated virus (AAV)-mediated overexpression of PICOT restored the impaired contractility and prevented further morphological and functional deterioration of the failing hearts. Taken together, the results of the present study suggest that PICOT exerts its inotropic effect by negatively regulating PKC? and PP2A activities through the inhibition of PKC? activity. This finding provides a novel insight into the regulation of cardiac contractility.
Although increased levels of myocardial receptor activator of nuclear factor (NF)-?B ligand (RANKL) have been reported in heart failure, the role of this pathway in mediating activation of inflammatory pathways during myocardial remodelling is less well understood. This study sought to determine the role of myocardial RANKL in regulating cytokine expression.
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