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PLoS One. 2011;6(10):e26581. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0026581. Epub 2011 Oct 19.

β-Adrenergic receptor-PI3K signaling crosstalk in mouse heart: elucidation of immediate downstream signaling cascades.

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Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, Hunan, China.


Sustained β-adrenergic receptors (βAR) activation leads to cardiac hypertrophy and prevents left ventricular (LV) atrophy during LV unloading. The immediate signaling pathways downstream from βAR stimulation, however, have not been well investigated. The current study was to examine the early cardiac signaling mechanism(s) following βAR stimulation. In adult C57BL/6 mice, acute βAR stimulation induced significant increases in PI3K activity and activation of Akt and ERK1/2 in the heart, but not in lungs or livers. In contrast, the same treatment did not elicit these changes in β(1)/β(2)AR double knockout mice. We further showed the specificity of β(2)AR in this crosstalk as treatment with formoterol, a β(2)AR-selective agonist, but not dobutamine, a predominantly β(1)AR agonist, activated cardiac Akt and ERK1/2. Acute βAR stimulation also significantly increased the phosphorylation of mTOR (the mammalian target of rapamycin), P70S6K, ribosomal protein S6, GSK-3α/β (glycogen synthase kinase-3α/β), and FOXO1/3a (the forkhead box family of transcription factors 1 and 3a). Moreover, acute βAR stimulation time-dependently decreased the mRNA levels of the muscle-specific E3 ligases atrogin-1 and muscle ring finger protein-1 (MuRF1) in mouse heart. Our results indicate that acute βAR stimulation in vivo affects multiple cardiac signaling cascades, including the PI3K signaling pathway, ERK1/2, atrogin-1 and MuRF1. These data 1) provide convincing evidence for the crosstalk between βAR and PI3K signaling pathways; 2) confirm the β(2)AR specificity in this crosstalk in vivo; and 3) identify novel signaling factors involved in cardiac hypertrophy and LV unloading. Understanding of the intricate interplay between β(2)AR activation and these signaling cascades should provide critical clues to the pathogenesis of cardiac hypertrophy and enable identification of targets for early clinical interaction of cardiac lesions.

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