Biochimica et biophysica acta

Targeted deletion of PTEN in cardiomyocytes renders cardiac contractile dysfunction through interruption of Pink1-AMPK signaling and autophagy.

PMID 25229693


Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) deleted from chromosome 10 has been implicated in the maintenance of cardiac homeostasis although the underlying mechanism(s) remains elusive. We generated a murine model of cardiomyocyte-specific knockout of PTEN to evaluate cardiac geometry and contractile function, as well as the effect of metformin on PTEN deficiency-induced cardiac anomalies, if any. Cardiac histology, autophagy and related signaling molecules were evaluated. Cardiomyocyte-specific PTEN deletion elicited cardiac hypertrophy and contractile anomalies (echocardiographic and cardiomyocyte contractile dysfunction) associated with compromised intracellular Ca(2+) handling. PTEN deletion-induced cardiac hypertrophy and contractile anomalies were associated with dampened phosphorylation of PTEN-inducible kinase 1 (Pink1) and AMPK. Interestingly, administration of AMPK activator metformin (200mg/kg/d, in drinking H2O for 4weeks) rescued against PTEN deletion-induced geometric and functional defects as well as interrupted autophagy and autophagic flux in the heart. Moreover, metformin administration partially although significantly attenuated PTEN deletion-induced accumulation of superoxide. RNA interference against Pink1 in H9C2 myoblasts overtly increased intracellular ATP levels and suppressed AMPK phosphorylation, confirming the role of AMPK as a downstream target for PTEN-Pink1. Further scrutiny revealed that activation of AMPK and autophagy using metformin and rapamycin, respectively, rescued against PTEN deletion-induced mechanical anomalies with little additive effect. These data demonstrated that cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of PTEN leads to the loss of Pink1-AMPK signaling, development of cardiac hypertrophy and contractile defect. Activation of AMPK rescued against PTEN deletion-induced cardiac anomalies associated with restoration of autophagy and autophagic flux. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Autophagy and protein quality control in cardiometabolic diseases.

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