Abstract 74: The Role of Fibroblast-specific Canonical Tgfβ Signaling in Cardiac Fibrosis
Heart failure is a progressive disease characterized by cardiomyocyte loss, interstitial fibrosis, and chamber remodeling. During physiological conditions cardiac fibroblasts contribute to the homeostatic maintenance of myocardial structure as well as the maintenance of biochemical, mechanical and electrical properties of the heart. Injury and/or cytokine stimulation activate fibroblasts which transdifferentiate into myofibroblasts. These newly formed cells secrete extracellular matrix (ECM) for wound healing and tissue remodeling through their contractile activity. Fibrosis mediated by these cells can initially be a beneficial response that acutely scarifies areas after an infarct to prevent wall rupture. However, during chronic disease states such as heart failure, persistent recruitment and activation of fibroblasts leads to excessive deposition of ECM that results in stiffening and pathological remodeling of the ventricles. During chronic heart disease, cardiomyocytes, immune cells and fibroblasts secrete the cytokine transforming growth factor-TGFβ, which activates fibroblasts and promotes their conversion to myofibroblasts. Manipulation of TGFβ by losartan, which antagonizes angiotensin II (AngII) and aspects of TGFβ signaling, has shown some anti-fibrotic effects in cardiovascular remodeling. Also deletion of Tgfbr1 (type I TGFβ receptor) in cardiomyocytes or a TGFβ blocking antibody reduced the fibrotic response after pressure overload. However heart failure was not improved because deleterious TGFβ signaling in fibroblasts persisted. We therefore utilized a novel fibroblast-specific inducible Cre-expressing mouse line (Periostin-MerCreMer) to examine the canonical (Smad2/3) TGFβ signaling within fibroblasts to determine how these cells and their activation mediate disease in heart failure. Our data indicate that fibroblast-specific deletion of Smad3 but not Smad2 was sufficient to significantly inhibit myocardial fibrosis. Smad2/3 double nulls were also generated and analyzed, as were TGFBR1 and TGFBR2 loxp targeted mice, also crossed with the Postn-MerCreMer knockin allele to achieve specificity in activated fibroblasts.
Author Disclosures: H. Khalil: None. O. Kanisicak: None. R. Correll: None. M. Sargent: None. J. Molkentin: None.
- © 2015 by American Heart Association, Inc.