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J Cell Sci. 2006 Mar 15;119(Pt 6):1043-52. Epub 2006 Feb 28.

Regulation of cardiotrophin-1 expression in mouse embryonic stem cells by HIF-1alpha and intracellular reactive oxygen species.

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  • 1Department of Physiology, University of Giessen, 35392 Giessen, Germany.


Cardiomyogenesis in differentiating mouse embryonic stem (ES) cells is promoted by cardiotrophin-1 (CT-1), a member of the IL-6 interleukin superfamily that acts through the tall gp130 cytokine receptor. We show that prooxidants (menadione, hydrogen peroxide) as well as chemical (CoCl2) and physiological (1% O2) hypoxia increased CT-1 as well as HIF-1alpha protein and mRNA expression in embryoid bodies, indicating that CT-1 expression is regulated by reactive oxygen species (ROS) and hypoxia. Treatment with either prooxidants or chemical hypoxia increased gp130 phosphorylation and protein expression of NADPH oxidase subunits p22-phox, p47-phox, p67-phox, as well as Nox1 and Nox4 mRNA. Consequently, inhibition of NADPH oxidase activity by diphenylen iodonium chloride (DPI) and apocynin abolished prooxidant- and chemical hypoxia-induced upregulation of CT-1. Prooxidants and chemical hypoxia activated ERK1,2, JNK and p38 as well as PI3-kinase. The proxidant- and CoCl2-mediated upregulation of CT-1 was significantly inhibited in the presence of the ERK1,2 antagonist UO126, the JNK antagonist SP600125, the p38 antagonist SKF86002, the PI3-kinase antagonist LY294002, the Jak-2 antagonist AG490 as well as in the presence of free radical scavengers. Moreover, developing embryoid bodies derived from HIF-1alpha-/- ES cells lack cardiomyogenesis, and prooxidants as well as chemical hypoxia failed to upregulate CT-1 expression. Our results demonstrate that CT-1 expression in ES cells is regulated by ROS and HIF-1alpha and imply a crucial role of CT-1 in the survival and proliferation of ES-cell-derived cardiac cells.

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