Gene expression profiling in experimental models of cardiac load
1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Biomedicine
2University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
3University of Oulu, Biocenter Oulu
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|Academic dissertation to be presented, with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Oulu, for public defence in the Auditorium of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, on April 11th, 2008, at 12 noon
Professor Riitta Lahesmaa
Docent Anna-Liisa Levonen
Cardiac hypertrophy provides an adaptive mechanism to maintain cardiac output in response to increased workload, and although initially beneficial, hypertrophy eventually leads to heart failure, a major cause of morbidity and mortality in Western countries. The hypertrophic response in cardiac myocytes is accompanied by e.g. activation of signal transduction pathways, such as mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), and complex changes in gene programming. The purpose of this study was to characterize gene expression patterns in experimental models of cardiac load by using high-throughput DNA microarray technologies.
In the present study, changes in gene expression were evaluated in response to acute pressure overload and prolonged hypertension as well as during the development of left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH) and the transition to diastolic heart failure in an animal model of genetic hypertension, the spontaneously hypertensive rat (SHR). Increased expression of several immediate early genes was seen in response to acute hemodynamic overload in vivo. The transition from LVH to diastolic hypertensive heart failure was almost exclusively associated with changes in genes encoding extracellular matrix proteins and their regulatory processes showing the importance of progressive extracellular matrix remodeling.
The effect of p38 MAPK activation on gene expression patterns in vivo was elucidated. Cardiac-specific overexpression of p38 MAPK resulted in upregulation of genes controlling cell division and inflammation as well as cell signaling and adhesion. Accordingly, the functional role of p38 MAPK was related to myocardial cell proliferation, inflammation and fibrosis.
Finally, temporal analysis of mechanical stretch induced gene expression changes in neonatal rat cardiomyocyte cultures in vitro indicated that mechanical stretch induced complex gene expression profiles, demonstrating that both positive and negative regulators are involved in the hypertrophic process. Many novel stretch responsive genes were identified, and a subset of them may be putative downstream targets of p38 MAPK.
In conclusion, in the present study a number of well-established gene expression changes of cardiac hypertrophy were observed and novel modulators associated with increased cardiac load, such as thrombospondin-4, were identified. The study provides a better understanding of molecular mechanisms associated with increased cardiac load, and may indicate potential targets for novel therapeutic interventions.
Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
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