Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity within the industrialized nations of the world, with coronary heart disease (CHD) accounting for as much as 66% of these deaths. Acute myocardial infarction is a typical sequelae associated with long-standing coronary heart disease resulting in large scale loss of ventricular myocardium through both apoptotic and necrotic cell death. In this study, we investigated the role that the calcium calmodulin-activated protein phosphatase calcineurin (PP2B) plays in modulating cardiac apoptosis after acute ischemia-reperfusion injury to the heart. Calcineurin Aβ gene-targeted mice showed a greater loss of viable myocardium, enhanced DNA laddering and TUNEL, and a greater loss in functional performance compared with strain-matched wild-type control mice after ischemia-reperfusion injury. RNA expression profiling was performed to uncover potential mechanisms associated with this loss of cardioprotection. Interestingly, calcineurin Aβ-/- hearts were characterized by a generalized downregulation in gene expression representing approximately 6% of all genes surveyed, Consistent with this observation, nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT)-luciferase reporter transgenic mice showed reduced expression in calcineurin Aβ-/- hearts at baseline and after ischemia-reperfusion injury. Finally, expression of an activated NFAT mutant protected cardiac myocytes from apoptotic stimuli, whereas directed inhibition of NFAT augmented cell death. These results represent the first genetic loss-of-function data showing a prosurvival role for calcineurin-NFAT signaling in the heart.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||9|
|State||Published - Jan 9 2004|
- Heart failure
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine