The master cytokine TGF-β mediates tissue fibrosis associated with inflammation and tissue injury. TGF-β induces fibroblast activation and differentiation into myofibroblasts that secrete extracellular matrix proteins. Canonical TGF-β signaling mobilizes Smad2 and Smad3 transcription factors that control fibrosis by promoting gene expression. However, the importance of TGF-β–Smad2/3 signaling in fibroblast-mediated cardiac fibrosis has not been directly evaluated in vivo. Here, we examined pressure overload–induced cardiac fibrosis in fibroblast- and myofibroblast-specific inducible Cre-expressing mouse lines with selective deletion of the TGF-β receptors Tgfbr1/2, Smad2, or Smad3. Fibroblast-specific deletion of Tgfbr1/2 or Smad3, but not Smad2, markedly reduced the pressure overload–induced fibrotic response as well as fibrosis mediated by a heart-specific, latency-resistant TGF-β mutant transgene. Interestingly, cardiac fibroblast–specific deletion of Tgfbr1/2, but not Smad2/3, attenuated the cardiac hypertrophic response to pressure overload stimulation. Mechanistically, loss of Smad2/3 from tissue-resident fibroblasts attenuated injury-induced cellular expansion within the heart and the expression of fibrosis-mediating genes. Deletion of Smad2/3 or Tgfbr1/2 from cardiac fibroblasts similarly inhibited the gene program for fibrosis and extracellular matrix remodeling, although deletion of Tgfbr1/2 uniquely altered expression of an array of regulatory genes involved in cardiomyocyte homeostasis and disease compensation. These findings implicate TGF-β–Smad2/3 signaling in activated tissue-resident cardiac fibroblasts as principal mediators of the fibrotic response.
Hadi Khalil, Onur Kanisicak, Vikram Prasad, Robert N. Correll, Xing Fu, Tobias Schips, Ronald J. Vagnozzi, Ruijie Liu, Thanh Huynh, Se-Jin Lee, Jason Karch, Jeffery D. Molkentin
Defective protein quality control (PQC) systems are implicated in multiple diseases. Molecular chaperones and co-chaperones play a central role in functioning PQC. Constant mechanical and metabolic stress in cardiomyocytes places great demand on the PQC system. Mutation and downregulation of the co-chaperone protein BCL-2–associated athanogene 3 (BAG3) are associated with cardiac myopathy and heart failure, and a BAG3 E455K mutation leads to dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). However, the role of BAG3 in the heart and the mechanisms by which the E455K mutation leads to DCM remain obscure. Here, we found that cardiac-specific Bag3-KO and E455K-knockin mice developed DCM. Comparable phenotypes in the 2 mutants demonstrated that the E455K mutation resulted in loss of function. Further experiments revealed that the E455K mutation disrupted the interaction between BAG3 and HSP70. In both mutants, decreased levels of small heat shock proteins (sHSPs) were observed, and a subset of proteins required for cardiomyocyte function was enriched in the insoluble fraction. Together, these observations suggest that interaction between BAG3 and HSP70 is essential for BAG3 to stabilize sHSPs and maintain cardiomyocyte protein homeostasis. Our results provide insight into heart failure caused by defects in BAG3 pathways and suggest that increasing BAG3 protein levels may be of therapeutic benefit in heart failure.
Xi Fang, Julius Bogomolovas, Tongbin Wu, Wei Zhang, Canzhao Liu, Jennifer Veevers, Matthew J. Stroud, Zhiyuan Zhang, Xiaolong Ma, Yongxin Mu, Dieu-Hung Lao, Nancy D. Dalton, Yusu Gu, Celine Wang, Michael Wang, Yan Liang, Stephan Lange, Kunfu Ouyang, Kirk L. Peterson, Sylvia M. Evans, Ju Chen
Atherosclerosis is a chronic inflammatory disease, and developing therapies to promote its regression is an important clinical goal. We previously established that atherosclerosis regression is characterized by an overall decrease in plaque macrophages and enrichment in markers of alternatively activated M2 macrophages. We have now investigated the origin and functional requirement for M2 macrophages in regression in normolipidemic mice that received transplants of atherosclerotic aortic segments. We compared plaque regression in WT normolipidemic recipients and those deficient in chemokine receptors necessary to recruit inflammatory Ly6Chi (Ccr2–/– or Cx3cr1–/–) or patrolling Ly6Clo (Ccr5–/–) monocytes. Atherosclerotic plaques transplanted into WT or Ccr5–/– recipients showed reduced macrophage content and increased M2 markers consistent with plaque regression, whereas plaques transplanted into Ccr2–/– or Cx3cr1–/– recipients lacked this regression signature. The requirement of recipient Ly6Chi monocyte recruitment was confirmed in cell trafficking studies. Fate-mapping and single-cell RNA sequencing studies also showed that M2-like macrophages were derived from newly recruited monocytes. Furthermore, we used recipient mice deficient in STAT6 to demonstrate a requirement for this critical component of M2 polarization in atherosclerosis regression. Collectively, these results suggest that continued recruitment of Ly6Chi inflammatory monocytes and their STAT6-dependent polarization to the M2 state are required for resolution of atherosclerotic inflammation and plaque regression.
Karishma Rahman, Yuliya Vengrenyuk, Stephen A. Ramsey, Noemi Rotllan Vila, Natasha M. Girgis, Jianhua Liu, Viktoria Gusarova, Jesper Gromada, Ada Weinstock, Kathryn J. Moore, P’ng Loke, Edward A. Fisher
Congenital heart disease (CHD) represents the most prevalent inborn anomaly. Only a minority of CHD cases are attributed to genetic causes, suggesting a major role of environmental factors. Nonphysiological hypoxia during early pregnancy induces CHD, but the underlying reasons are unknown. Here, we have demonstrated that cells in the mouse heart tube are hypoxic, while cardiac progenitor cells (CPCs) expressing islet 1 (ISL1) in the secondary heart field (SHF) are normoxic. In ISL1+ CPCs, induction of hypoxic responses caused CHD by repressing
Xuejun Yuan, Hui Qi, Xiang Li, Fan Wu, Jian Fang, Eva Bober, Gergana Dobreva, Yonggang Zhou, Thomas Braun
Philipp S. Wild, Janine F. Felix, Arne Schillert, Alexander Teumer, Ming-Huei Chen, Maarten J.G. Leening, Uwe Völker, Vera Großmann, Jennifer A. Brody, Marguerite R. Irvin, Sanjiv J. Shah, Setia Pramana, Wolfgang Lieb, Reinhold Schmidt, Alice V. Stanton, Dörthe Malzahn, Albert Vernon Smith, Johan Sundström, Cosetta Minelli, Daniela Ruggiero, Leo-Pekka Lyytikäinen, Daniel Tiller, J. Gustav Smith, Claire Monnereau, Marco R. Di Tullio, Solomon K. Musani, Alanna C. Morrison, Tune H. Pers, Michael Morley, Marcus E. Kleber, AortaGen Consortium, Jayashri Aragam, Emelia J. Benjamin, Joshua C. Bis, Egbert Bisping, Ulrich Broeckel, CHARGE-Heart Failure Consortium, Susan Cheng, Jaap W. Deckers, Fabiola Del Greco M, Frank Edelmann, Myriam Fornage, Lude Franke, Nele Friedrich, Tamara B. Harris, Edith Hofer, Albert Hofman, Jie Huang, Alun D. Hughes, Mika Kähönen, KNHI investigators, Jochen Kruppa, Karl J. Lackner, Lars Lannfelt, Rafael Laskowski, Lenore J. Launer, Margrét Leosdottir, Honghuang Lin, Cecilia M. Lindgren, Christina Loley, Calum A. MacRae, Deborah Mascalzoni, Jamil Mayet, Daniel Medenwald, Andrew P. Morris, Christian Müller, Martina Müller-Nurasyid, Stefania Nappo, Peter M. Nilsson, Sebastian Nuding, Teresa Nutile, Annette Peters, Arne Pfeufer, Diana Pietzner, Peter P. Pramstaller, Olli T. Raitakari, Kenneth M. Rice, Fernando Rivadeneira, Jerome I. Rotter, Saku T. Ruohonen, Ralph L. Sacco, Tandaw E. Samdarshi, Helena Schmidt, Andrew S.P. Sharp, Denis C. Shields, Rossella Sorice, Nona Sotoodehnia, Bruno H. Stricker, Praveen Surendran, Simon Thom, Anna M. Töglhofer, André G. Uitterlinden, Rolf Wachter, Henry Völzke, Andreas Ziegler, Thomas Münzel, Winfried März, Thomas P. Cappola, Joel N. Hirschhorn, Gary F. Mitchell, Nicholas L. Smith, Ervin R. Fox, Nicole D. Dueker, Vincent W.V. Jaddoe, Olle Melander, Martin Russ, Terho Lehtimäki, Marina Ciullo, Andrew A. Hicks, Lars Lind, Vilmundur Gudnason, Burkert Pieske, Anthony J. Barron, Robert Zweiker, Heribert Schunkert, Erik Ingelsson, Kiang Liu, Donna K. Arnett, Bruce M. Psaty, Stefan Blankenberg, Martin G. Larson, Stephan B. Felix, Oscar H. Franco, Tanja Zeller, Ramachandran S. Vasan, Marcus Dörr
Diseases caused by gene haploinsufficiency in humans commonly lack a phenotype in mice that are heterozygous for the orthologous factor, impeding the study of complex phenotypes and critically limiting the discovery of therapeutics. Laboratory mice have longer telomeres relative to humans, potentially protecting against age-related disease caused by haploinsufficiency. Here, we demonstrate that telomere shortening in NOTCH1-haploinsufficient mice is sufficient to elicit age-dependent cardiovascular disease involving premature calcification of the aortic valve, a phenotype that closely mimics human disease caused by NOTCH1 haploinsufficiency. Furthermore, progressive telomere shortening correlated with severity of disease, causing cardiac valve and septal disease in the neonate that was similar to the range of valve disease observed within human families. Genes that were dysregulated due to NOTCH1 haploinsufficiency in mice with shortened telomeres were concordant with proosteoblast and proinflammatory gene network alterations in human NOTCH1 heterozygous endothelial cells. These dysregulated genes were enriched for telomere-contacting promoters, suggesting a potential mechanism for telomere-dependent regulation of homeostatic gene expression. These findings reveal a critical role for telomere length in a mouse model of age-dependent human disease and provide an in vivo model in which to test therapeutic candidates targeting the progression of aortic valve disease.
Christina V. Theodoris, Foteini Mourkioti, Yu Huang, Sanjeev S. Ranade, Lei Liu, Helen M. Blau, Deepak Srivastava
Ischemic heart disease resulting from myocardial infarction (MI) is the most prevalent form of heart disease in the United States. Post-MI cardiac remodeling is a multifaceted process that includes activation of fibroblasts and a complex immune response. T-regulatory cells (Tregs), a subset of CD4+ T cells, have been shown to suppress the innate and adaptive immune response and limit deleterious remodeling following myocardial injury. However, the mechanisms by which injured myocardium recruits suppressive immune cells remain largely unknown. Here, we have shown a role for Hippo signaling in the epicardium in suppressing the post-infarct inflammatory response through recruitment of Tregs. Mice deficient in epicardial YAP and TAZ, two core Hippo pathway effectors, developed profound post-MI pericardial inflammation and myocardial fibrosis, resulting in cardiomyopathy and death. Mutant mice exhibited fewer suppressive Tregs in the injured myocardium and decreased expression of the gene encoding IFN-γ, a known Treg inducer. Furthermore, controlled local delivery of IFN-γ following MI rescued Treg infiltration into the injured myocardium of YAP/TAZ mutants and decreased fibrosis. Collectively, these results suggest that epicardial Hippo signaling plays a key role in adaptive immune regulation during the post-MI recovery phase.
Vimal Ramjee, Deqiang Li, Lauren J. Manderfield, Feiyan Liu, Kurt A. Engleka, Haig Aghajanian, Christopher B. Rodell, Wen Lu, Vivienne Ho, Tao Wang, Li Li, Anamika Singh, Dasan M. Cibi, Jason A. Burdick, Manvendra K. Singh, Rajan Jain, Jonathan A. Epstein
Failure of trabecular myocytes to undergo appropriate cell cycle withdrawal leads to ventricular noncompaction and heart failure. Signaling of growth factor receptor ERBB2 is critical for myocyte proliferation and trabeculation. However, the mechanisms underlying appropriate downregulation of trabecular ERBB2 signaling are little understood. Here, we have found that the endocytic adaptor proteins NUMB and NUMBL were required for downregulation of ERBB2 signaling in maturing trabeculae. Loss of NUMB and NUMBL resulted in a partial block of late endosome formation, resulting in sustained ERBB2 signaling and STAT5 activation. Unexpectedly, activated STAT5 overrode Hippo-mediated inhibition and drove YAP1 to the nucleus. Consequent aberrant cardiomyocyte proliferation resulted in ventricular noncompaction that was markedly rescued by heterozygous loss of function of either ERBB2 or YAP1. Further investigations revealed that NUMB and NUMBL interacted with small GTPase Rab7 to transition ERBB2 from early to late endosome for degradation. Our studies provide insight into mechanisms by which NUMB and NUMBL promote cardiomyocyte cell cycle withdrawal and highlight previously unsuspected connections between pathways that are important for cardiomyocyte cell cycle reentry, with relevance to ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy and regenerative medicine.
Maretoshi Hirai, Yoh Arita, C. Jane McGlade, Kuo-Fen Lee, Ju Chen, Sylvia M. Evans
Myocardial infarction (MI) results in the generation of dead cells in the infarcted area. These cells are swiftly removed by phagocytes to minimize inflammation and limit expansion of the damaged area. However, the types of cells and molecules responsible for the engulfment of dead cells in the infarcted area remain largely unknown. In this study, we demonstrated that cardiac myofibroblasts, which execute tissue fibrosis by producing extracellular matrix proteins, efficiently engulf dead cells. Furthermore, we identified a population of cardiac myofibroblasts that appears in the heart after MI in humans and mice. We found that these cardiac myofibroblasts secrete milk fat globule-epidermal growth factor 8 (MFG-E8), which promotes apoptotic engulfment, and determined that serum response factor is important for MFG-E8 production in myofibroblasts. Following MFG-E8–mediated engulfment of apoptotic cells, myofibroblasts acquired antiinflammatory properties. MFG-E8 deficiency in mice led to the accumulation of unengulfed dead cells after MI, resulting in exacerbated inflammatory responses and a substantial decrease in survival. Moreover, MFG-E8 administration into infarcted hearts restored cardiac function and morphology. MFG-E8–producing myofibroblasts mainly originated from resident cardiac fibroblasts and cells that underwent endothelial-mesenchymal transition in the heart. Together, our results reveal previously unrecognized roles of myofibroblasts in regulating apoptotic engulfment and a fundamental importance of these cells in recovery from MI.
Michio Nakaya, Kenji Watari, Mitsuru Tajima, Takeo Nakaya, Shoichi Matsuda, Hiroki Ohara, Hiroaki Nishihara, Hiroshi Yamaguchi, Akiko Hashimoto, Mitsuho Nishida, Akiomi Nagasaka, Yuma Horii, Hiroki Ono, Gentaro Iribe, Ryuji Inoue, Makoto Tsuda, Kazuhide Inoue, Akira Tanaka, Masahiko Kuroda, Shigekazu Nagata, Hitoshi Kurose
Cardiac hypertrophic growth in response to pathological cues is associated with reexpression of fetal genes and decreased cardiac function and is often a precursor to heart failure. In contrast, physiologically induced hypertrophy is adaptive, resulting in improved cardiac function. The processes that selectively induce these hypertrophic states are poorly understood. Here, we have profiled 2 repressive epigenetic marks, H3K9me2 and H3K27me3, which are involved in stable cellular differentiation, specifically in cardiomyocytes from physiologically and pathologically hypertrophied rat hearts, and correlated these marks with their associated transcriptomes. This analysis revealed the pervasive loss of euchromatic H3K9me2 as a conserved feature of pathological hypertrophy that was associated with reexpression of fetal genes. In hypertrophy, H3K9me2 was reduced following a miR-217–mediated decrease in expression of the H3K9 dimethyltransferases EHMT1 and EHMT2 (EHMT1/2). miR-217–mediated, genetic, or pharmacological inactivation of EHMT1/2 was sufficient to promote pathological hypertrophy and fetal gene reexpression, while suppression of this pathway protected against pathological hypertrophy both in vitro and in mice. Thus, we have established a conserved mechanism involving a departure of the cardiomyocyte epigenome from its adult cellular identity to a reprogrammed state that is accompanied by reexpression of fetal genes and pathological hypertrophy. These results suggest that targeting miR-217 and EHMT1/2 to prevent H3K9 methylation loss is a viable therapeutic approach for the treatment of heart disease.
Bernard Thienpont, Jan Magnus Aronsen, Emma Louise Robinson, Hanneke Okkenhaug, Elena Loche, Arianna Ferrini, Patrick Brien, Kanar Alkass, Antonio Tomasso, Asmita Agrawal, Olaf Bergmann, Ivar Sjaastad, Wolf Reik, Hywel Llewelyn Roderick