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PLoS One. 2016 Apr 15;11(4):e0153632. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153632. eCollection 2016.

Decreased Polycystin 2 Levels Result in Non-Renal Cardiac Dysfunction with Aging.

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Department of Pharmacology, Yale University New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.
Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, United States of America.


Mutations in the gene for polycystin 2 (Pkd2) lead to polycystic kidney disease, however the main cause of mortality in humans is cardiac related. We previously showed that 5 month old Pkd2+/- mice have altered calcium-contractile activity in cardiomyocytes, but have preserved cardiac function. Here, we examined 1 and 9 month old Pkd2+/- mice to determine if decreased amounts of functional polycystin 2 leads to impaired cardiac function with aging. We observed changes in calcium handling proteins in 1 month old Pkd2+/- mice, and these changes were exacerbated in 9 month old Pkd2+/- mice. Anatomically, the 9 month old Pkd2+/- mice had thinner left ventricular walls, consistent with dilated cardiomyopathy, and the left ventricular ejection fraction was decreased. Intriguingly, in response to acute isoproterenol stimulation to examine β-adrenergic responses, the 9 month old Pkd2+/- mice exhibited a stronger contractile response, which also coincided with preserved localization of the β2 adrenergic receptor. Importantly, the Pkd2+/- mice did not have any renal impairment. We conclude that the cardiac-related impact of decreased polycystin 2 progresses over time towards cardiac dysfunction and altered adrenergic signaling. These results provide further evidence that polycystin 2 provides a critical function in the heart, independent of renal involvement.

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