Cardiovascular diabetology

High glucose induces Smad activation via the transcriptional coregulator p300 and contributes to cardiac fibrosis and hypertrophy.

PMID 24886336


Despite advances in the treatment of heart failure, mortality remains high, particularly in individuals with diabetes. Activated transforming growth factor beta (TGF-β) contributes to the pathogenesis of the fibrotic interstitium observed in diabetic cardiomyopathy. We hypothesized that high glucose enhances the activity of the transcriptional co-activator p300, leading to the activation of TGF-β via acetylation of Smad2; and that by inhibiting p300, TGF-β activity will be reduced and heart failure prevented in a clinically relevant animal model of diabetic cardiomyopathy. p300 activity was assessed in H9c2 cardiomyoblasts under normal glucose (5.6 mmol/L-NG) and high glucose (25 mmol/L-HG) conditions. 3H-proline incorporation in cardiac fibroblasts was also assessed as a marker of collagen synthesis. The role of p300 activity in modifying TGF-β activity was investigated with a known p300 inhibitor, curcumin or p300 siRNA in vitro, and the functional effects of p300 inhibition were assessed using curcumin in a hemodynamically validated model of diabetic cardiomyopathy - the diabetic TG m(Ren-2)27 rat. In vitro, H9c2 cells exposed to HG demonstrated increased p300 activity, Smad2 acetylation and increased TGF-β activity as assessed by Smad7 induction (all p < 0.05 c/w NG). Furthermore, HG induced 3H-proline incorporation as a marker of collagen synthesis (p < 0.05 c/w NG). p300 inhibition, using either siRNA or curcumin reduced p300 activity, Smad acetylation and TGF-β activity (all p < 0.05 c/w vehicle or scrambled siRNA). Furthermore, curcumin therapy reduced 3H-proline incorporation in HG and TGF-β stimulated fibroblasts (p < 0.05 c/w NG). To determine the functional significance of p300 inhibition, diabetic Ren-2 rats were randomized to receive curcumin or vehicle for 6 weeks. Curcumin treatment reduced cardiac hypertrophy, improved diastolic function and reduced extracellular matrix production, without affecting glycemic control, along with a reduction in TGF-β activity as assessed by Smad7 activation (all p < 0.05 c/w vehicle treated diabetic animals). These findings suggest that high glucose increases the activity of the transcriptional co-regulator p300, which increases TGF-β activity via Smad2 acetylation. Modulation of p300 may be a novel strategy to treat diabetes induced heart failure.