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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2003 Feb;284(2):C457-74. Epub 2002 Oct 9.

Caveolin-1 null mice develop cardiac hypertrophy with hyperactivation of p42/44 MAP kinase in cardiac fibroblasts.

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  • 1Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York 10461, USA.


Recently, development of a caveolin-1-deficient (Cav-1 null) mouse model has allowed the detailed analysis of caveolin-1's function in the context of a whole animal. Interestingly, we now report that the hearts of Cav-1 null mice are markedly abnormal, despite the fact that caveolin-1 is not expressed in cardiac myocytes. However, caveolin-1 is abundantly expressed in the nonmyocytic cells of the heart, i.e., cardiac fibroblasts and endothelia. Quantitative imaging studies of Cav-1 null hearts demonstrate a significantly enlarged right ventricular cavity and a thickened left ventricular wall with decreased systolic function. Histological analysis reveals myocyte hypertrophy with interstitial/perivascular fibrosis. Because caveolin-1 is thought to act as a negative regulator of the p42/44 MAP kinase cascade, we performed Western blot analysis with phospho-specific antibodies that only recognize activated ERK1/2. As predicted, the p42/44 MAP kinase cascade is hyperactivated in Cav-1 null heart tissue (i.e., interstitial fibrotic lesions) and isolated cardiac fibroblasts. In addition, endothelial and inducible nitric oxide synthase levels are dramatically upregulated. Thus loss of caveolin-1 expression drives p42/44 MAP kinase activation and cardiac hypertrophy.

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