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Cardiovasc Res. 2018 Feb 1;114(2):300-311. doi: 10.1093/cvr/cvx222.

Meox1 accelerates myocardial hypertrophic decompensation through Gata4.

Author information

Key Laboratory of Human Disease Comparative Medicine, NHFPC, Institute of Laboratory Animal Science, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences & Comparative Medical Center, Peking Union Medical College, Building 5, Panjiayuan Nanli, Chaoyang District, Beijing 100021, China.
State Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Disease, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Disease, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, 167 Beilishilu, Beijing 100037, China.



Pathological hypertrophy is the result of gene network regulation, which ultimately leads to adverse cardiac remodelling and heart failure (HF) and is accompanied by the reactivation of a 'foetal gene programme'. The Mesenchyme homeobox 1 (Meox1) gene is one of the foetal programme genes. Meox1 may play a role in embryonic development, but its regulation of pathological hypertrophy is not known. Therefore, this study investigated the effect of Meox1 on pathological hypertrophy, including familial and pressure overload-induced hypertrophy, and its potential mechanism of action.

Methods and results:

Meox1 expression was markedly down-regulated in the wild-type adult mouse heart with age, and expression was up-regulated in heart tissues from familial dilated cardiomyopathy (FDCM) mice of the cTnTR141W strain, familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (FHCM) mice of the cTnTR92Q strain, pressure overload-induced HF mice, and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) patients. Echocardiography, histopathology, and hypertrophic molecular markers consistently demonstrated that Meox1 overexpression exacerbated the phenotypes in FHCM and in mice with thoracic aorta constriction (TAC), and that Meox1 knockdown improved the pathological changes. Gata4 was identified as a potential downstream target of Meox1 using digital gene expression (DGE) profiling, real-time PCR, and bioinformatics analysis. Promoter activity data and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) and Gata4 knockdown analyses indicated that Meox1 acted via activation of Gata4 transcription.


Meox1 accelerated decompensation via the downstream target Gata4, at least in part directly. Meox1 and other foetal programme genes form a highly interconnected network, which offers multiple therapeutic entry points to dampen the aberrant expression of foetal genes and pathological hypertrophy.


Cardiomyopathy; Foetal gene programme; Gene expression and regulation; Heart failure; Hypertrophy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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