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Journal of the American Heart Association

Reducing endoglin activity limits calcineurin and TRPC-6 expression and improves survival in a mouse model of right ventricular pressure overload.


PMID 25015075

Abstract

Right ventricular (RV) failure is a major cause of mortality worldwide and is often a consequence of RV pressure overload (RVPO). Endoglin is a coreceptor for the profibrogenic cytokine, transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF-β1). TGF-β1 signaling by the canonical transient receptor protein channel 6 (TRPC-6) was recently reported to stimulate calcineurin-mediated myofibroblast transformation, a critical component of cardiac fibrosis. We hypothesized that reduced activity of the TGF-β1 coreceptor, endoglin, limits RV calcineurin expression and improves survival in RVPO. We first demonstrate that endoglin is required for TGF-β1-mediated calcineurin/TRPC-6 expression and up-regulation of alpha-smooth muscle antigen (α-SMA), a marker of myofibroblast transformation, in human RV fibroblasts. Using endoglin haploinsufficient mice (Eng(+/-)) we show that reduced endoglin activity preserves RV function, limits RV fibrosis, and attenuates activation of the calcineurin/TRPC-6/α-SMA pathway in a model of angio-obliterative pulmonary hypertension. Next, using Eng(+/-) mice or a neutralizing antibody (Ab) against endoglin (N-Eng) in wild-type mice, we show that reduced endoglin activity improves survival and attenuates RV fibrosis in models of RVPO induced by pulmonary artery constriction. To explore the utility of targeting endoglin, we observed a reversal of RV fibrosis and calcineurin levels in wild-type mice treated with a N-Eng Ab, compared to an immunoglobulin G control. These data establish endoglin as a regulator of TGF-β1 signaling by calcineurin and TRPC-6 in the RV and identify it as a potential therapeutic target to limit RV fibrosis and improve survival in RVPO, a common cause of death in cardiac and pulmonary disease.

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