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Mol Med. 2011 Mar-Apr;17(3-4):201-10. doi: 10.2119/molmed.2010.00197. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Attenuation of endoplasmic reticulum stress-related myocardial apoptosis by SERCA2a gene delivery in ischemic heart disease.

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  • 1First Department of Geriatric Cardiology, Chinese PLA General Hospital, Beijing, China.


Previous studies suggested that endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-associated apoptosis plays an important role in the pathogenesis of ischemic heart disease. Gene transfer of sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) ATPase 2a (SERCA2a) attenuates myocardial apoptosis in a variety of heart failure models. This study is to investigate the effects of SERCA2a gene delivery on the myocardial apoptosis and ER stress pathway in a porcine ischemic heart disease model. Eighteen pigs were either subjected to ameroid implantation in the coronary artery or sham operation. Eight wks after gene delivery, the protein level and activity of SERCA2a were measured. Myocardial apoptosis was determined using terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated DNA nick-end labeling assay. Regional myocardial perfusion and function were evaluated by (99m)Tc-sestamibi ((99m)Tc-MIBI) single photon emission computed tomography and echocardiography. The ER stress signaling was assessed by Western blot. SERCA2a protein level and activity were significantly decreased in the ischemic myocardium and restored to normal after SERCA2a gene transfer. Restoration of SERCA2a expression significantly improved the cardiac function, although no improvement of regional myocardial perfusion was detected. Restoration of SERCA2a significantly attenuated myocardial apoptosis and reversed the activation of unfolded protein response (UPR) pathway and the ER stress-associated apoptosis pathways. These findings demonstrate a robust role of SERCA2a in attenuation of ischemic myocardial apoptosis, correlating with reverse activation of the ER stress-associated apoptosis pathways, suggesting that the beneficial effects of SERCA2a gene transfer may involve the attenuation of ER stress-associated myocardial apoptosis.

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