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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2011 Nov;301(5):C1046-56. doi: 10.1152/ajpcell.00211.2011. Epub 2011 Jul 20.

Decreased metalloprotease 9 induction, cardiac fibrosis, and higher autophagy after pressure overload in mice lacking the transcriptional regulator p8.

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Molecular Cardiology Research Institute, Tufts Medical Center, Department of Medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02111, USA.


Left ventricular remodeling, including the deposition of excess extracellular matrix, is key to the pathogenesis of heart failure. The stress-inducible transcriptional regulator p8 is increased in failing human hearts and is required both for agonist-stimulated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and for cardiac fibroblasts matrix metalloprotease-9 (MMP9) induction. In the heart, upregulation of autophagy is an adaptive response to stress and plays a causative role in cardiomyopathies. We have recently shown that p8 ablation in cardiac cells upregulates autophagy and that, in vivo, loss of p8 results in a decrease of cardiac function. Here we investigated the effects of p8 genetic deletion in mediating adverse myocardial remodeling. Unstressed p8-/- mouse hearts manifested complex alterations in the expression of fibrosis markers. In addition, these mice displayed elevated autophagy and apoptosis compared with p8+/+ mice. Transverse aortic constriction (TAC) induced left ventricular p8 expression in p8+/+ mice. Pressure overload caused left ventricular remodeling in both genotypes, however, p8-/- mice showed less cardiac fibrosis induction. Consistent with this, although MMP9 induction was attenuated in the p8-/- mice, induction of MMP2 and MMP3 were strikingly upregulated while TIMP2 was downregulated. Left ventricular autophagy increased after TAC and was significantly higher in the p8-/- mice. Thus p8-deletion results in reduced collagen fibrosis after TAC, but in turn, is associated with a detrimental higher increase in autophagy. These findings suggest a role for p8 in regulating in vivo key signaling pathways involved in the pathogenesis of heart failure.

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