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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2011 Mar 8;108(10):4123-8. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1015081108. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors attenuate cardiac hypertrophy by suppressing autophagy.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine (Cardiology), University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX 75390, USA.


Histone deacetylases (HDACs) regulate cardiac plasticity; however, their molecular targets are unknown. As autophagy contributes to pathological cardiac remodeling, we hypothesized that HDAC inhibitors target autophagy. The prototypical HDAC inhibitor (HDACi), trichostatin A (TSA), attenuated both load- and agonist-induced hypertrophic growth and abolished the associated activation of autophagy. Phenylephrine (PE)-triggered hypertrophy and autophagy in cultured cardiomyocytes were each blocked by a panel of structurally distinct HDAC inhibitors. RNAi-mediated knockdown of either Atg5 or Beclin 1, two essential autophagy effectors, was similarly capable of suppressing ligand-induced autophagy and myocyte growth. RNAi experiments uncovered the class I isoforms HDAC1 and HDAC2 as required for the autophagic response. To test the functional requirement of autophagic activation, we studied mice that overexpress Beclin 1 in cardiomyocytes. In these animals with a fourfold amplified autophagic response to TAC, TSA abolished TAC-induced increases in autophagy and blunted load-induced hypertrophy. Finally, we subjected animals with preexisting hypertrophy to HDACi, finding that ventricular mass reverted to near-normal levels and ventricular function normalized completely. Together, these data implicate autophagy as an obligatory element in pathological cardiac remodeling and point to HDAC1/2 as required effectors. Also, these data reveal autophagy as a previously unknown target of HDAC inhibitor therapy.

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