International journal of cardiology

ATF3-dependent cross-talk between cardiomyocytes and macrophages promotes cardiac maladaptive remodeling.

PMID 26201690


Pressure overload induces adaptive remodeling processes in the heart. However, when pressure overload persists, adaptive changes turn into maladaptive alterations leading to cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. ATF3 is a stress inducible transcription factor that is transiently expressed following neuroendocrine stimulation. However, its role in chronic pressure overload dependent cardiac hypertrophy is currently unknown. The objective of the study was to study the role of ATF3 in chronic pressure overload dependent cardiac remodeling processes. Pressure overload was induced by phenylephrine (PE) mini-osmotic pumps in various mice models of whole body, cardiac specific, bone marrow (BM) specific and macrophage specific ATF3 ablations. We show that ATF3-KO mice exhibit a significantly reduced expression of cardiac remodeling markers following chronic pressure overload. Consistently, the lack of ATF3 specifically in either cardiomyocytes or BM derived cells blunts the hypertrophic response to PE infusion. A unique cross-talk between cardiomyocytes and macrophages was identified. Cardiomyocytes induce an ATF3 dependent induction of an inflammatory response leading to macrophage recruitment to the heart. Adoptive transfer of wild type macrophages, but not ATF3-KO derived macrophages, into wild type mice potentiates maladaptive response to PE infusion. Collectively, this study places ATF3 as a key regulator in promoting pressure overload induced cardiac hypertrophy through a cross-talk between cardiomyocytes and macrophages. Inhibiting this cross-talk may serve as a useful approach to blunt maladaptive remodeling processes in the heart.