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Exp Cell Res. 2016 Dec 10;349(2):282-290. doi: 10.1016/j.yexcr.2016.10.022. Epub 2016 Nov 2.

PDGF-A and PDGF-B induces cardiac fibrosis in transgenic mice.

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Department of Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden; Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.
Department of Medical Biochemistry, Sahlgrenska Academy, Gothenburg University, Gothenburg, Sweden.
Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Rudbeck Laboratory, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. Electronic address:


Platelet-derived growth factors (PDGFs) and their receptors (PDGFRs) contribute to normal heart development. Deficient or abnormal expression of Pdgf and Pdgfr genes have a negative impact on cardiac development and function. The cellular effects of PDGFs in the hearts of Pdgf/Pdgfr mutants and the pathogenesis of the resulting abnormalities are poorly understood, but different PDGF isoforms induce varying effects. Here, we generated three new transgenic mouse types which complete a set of studies, where all different PDGF ligands have been expressed under the same heart specific alpha-myosin heavy chain promoter. Transgenic expression of the natural isoforms of Pdgfa and Pdgfb resulted in isoform specific fibrotic reactions and cardiac hypertrophy. Pdgfa overexpression resulted in a severe fibrotic reaction with up to 8-fold increase in cardiac size, leading to lethal cardiac failure within a few weeks after birth. In contrast, Pdgfb overexpression led to focal fibrosis and moderate cardiac hypertrophy. As PDGF-A and PDGF-B have different affinity for the two PDGF receptors, we analyzed the expression of the receptors and the histology of the fibrotic hearts. Our data suggest that the stronger fibrotic effect generated by Pdgfa overexpression was mediated by Pdgfrα in cardiac interstitial mesenchymal cells, i.e. the likely source of extracellular matrix depostion and fibrotic reaction. The apparent sensitivity of the heart to ectopic PDGFRα agonists supports a role for endogenous PDGFRα agonists in the pathogenesis of cardiac fibrosis.


Fibrosis; Heart; Myosin heavy chain; PDGF; Transgene

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