Journal of the American Heart Association

Role of extracellular RNA and TLR3-Trif signaling in myocardial ischemia-reperfusion injury.

PMID 24390148


Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3) was originally identified as the receptor for viral RNA and represents a major host antiviral defense mechanism. TLR3 may also recognize extracellular RNA (exRNA) released from injured tissues under certain stress conditions. However, a role for exRNA and TLR3 in the pathogenesis of myocardial ischemic injury has not been tested. This study examined the role of exRNA and TLR3 signaling in myocardial infarction (MI), apoptosis, inflammation, and cardiac dysfunction during ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) injury. Wild-type (WT), TLR3(-/-), Trif(-/-), and interferon (IFN) α/β receptor-1 deficient (IFNAR1(-/-)) mice were subjected to 45 minutes of coronary artery occlusion and 24 hours of reperfusion. Compared with WT, TLR3(-/-) or Trif(-/-) mice had smaller MI and better preserved cardiac function. Surprisingly, unlike TLR(2/4)-MyD88 signaling, lack of TLR3-Trif signaling had no impact on myocardial cytokines or neutrophil recruitment after I/R, but myocardial apoptosis was significantly attenuated in Trif(-/-) mice. Deletion of the downstream IFNAR1 had no effect on infarct size. Importantly, hypoxia and I/R led to release of RNA including microRNA from injured cardiomyocytes and ischemic heart, respectively. Necrotic cardiomyocytes induced a robust and dose-dependent cytokine response in cultured cardiomyocytes, which was markedly reduced by RNase but not DNase, and partially blocked in TLR3-deficient cardiomyocytes. In vivo, RNase administration reduced serum RNA level, attenuated myocardial cytokine production, leukocytes infiltration and apoptosis, and conferred cardiac protection against I/R injury. TLR3-Trif signaling represents an injurious pathway during I/R. Extracellular RNA released during I/R may contribute to myocardial inflammation and infarction.