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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2001 Jun 5;98(12):6668-73. Epub 2001 May 29.

Activation of NF-kappa B is required for hypertrophic growth of primary rat neonatal ventricular cardiomyocytes.

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Ben May Institute for Cancer Research and the Committee on Cancer Biology, University of Chicago, 5841 South Maryland Avenue, MC6027, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.


The transcription factor NF-kappaB regulates expression of genes that are involved in inflammation, immune response, viral infection, cell survival, and division. However, the role of NF-kappaB in hypertrophic growth of terminally differentiated cardiomyocytes is unknown. Here we report that NF-kappaB activation is required for hypertrophic growth of cardiomyocytes. In cultured rat primary neonatal ventricular cardiomyocytes, the nuclear translocation of NF-kappaB and its transcriptional activity were stimulated by several hypertrophic agonists, including phenylephrine, endothelin-1, and angiotensin II. The activation of NF-kappaB was inhibited by expression of a "supersuppressor" IkappaBalpha mutant that is resistant to stimulation-induced degradation and a dominant negative IkappaB kinase (IKKbeta) mutant that can no longer be activated by phosphorylation. Furthermore, treatment with phenylephrine induced IkappaBalpha degradation in an IKK-dependent manner, suggesting that NF-kappaB is a downstream target of the hypertrophic agonists. Importantly, expression of the supersuppressor IkappaBalpha mutant or the dominant negative IKKbeta mutant blocked the hypertrophic agonist-induced expression of the embryonic gene atrial natriuretic factor and enlargement of cardiomyocytes. Conversely, overexpression of NF-kappaB itself induced atrial natriuretic factor expression and cardiomyocyte enlargement. These findings suggest that NF-kappaB plays a critical role in the hypertrophic growth of cardiomyocytes and may serve as a potential target for the intervention of heart disease.

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