Journal of cellular and molecular medicine

Cardiac cell proliferation is not necessary for exercise-induced cardiac growth but required for its protection against ischaemia/reperfusion injury.

PMID 28304151


The adult heart retains a limited ability to regenerate in response to injury. Although exercise can reduce cardiac ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, the relative contribution of cardiac cell proliferation including newly formed cardiomyocytes remains unclear. A 4-week swimming murine model was utilized to induce cardiac physiological growth. Simultaneously, the antineoplastic agent 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), which acts during the S phase of the cell cycle, was given to mice via intraperitoneal injections. Using EdU and Ki-67 immunolabelling, we showed that exercise-induced cardiac cell proliferation was blunted by 5-FU. In addition, the growth of heart in size and weight upon exercise was unaltered, probably due to the fact that exercise-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy was not influenced by 5-FU as demonstrated by wheat germ agglutinin staining. Meanwhile, the markers for pathological hypertrophy, including ANP and BNP, were not changed by either exercise or 5-FU, indicating that physiological growth still developed in the presence of 5-FU. Furthermore, we showed that CITED4, a key regulator for cardiomyocyte proliferation, was blocked by 5-FU. Meanwhile, C/EBPβ, a transcription factor responsible for both cellular proliferation and hypertrophy, was not altered by treatment with 5-FU. Importantly, the effects of exercise in reducing cardiac I/R injury could be abolished when cardiac cell proliferation was attenuated in mice treated with 5-FU. In conclusion, cardiac cell proliferation is not necessary for exercise-induced cardiac physiological growth, but it is required for exercise-associated protection against I/R injury.

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