All-trans retinoic acid prevents angiotensin II- and mechanical stretch-induced reactive oxygen species generation and cardiomyocyte apoptosis

Rashmi Choudhary, Kenneth M Baker, Jing Pan
Journal of Cellular Physiology 2008, 215 (1): 172-81
Cardiomyocyte apoptosis has an important role in the transition from compensatory cardiac remodeling to heart failure. All-trans retinoic acid (RA), a bioactive vitamin A derivative, prevents stretch- and angiotensin II (Ang II)-induced cardiac hypertrophy. However, the anti-apoptotic potential of RA in the heart remains unexplored. Here, we demonstrate that stretch- and Ang II-induced apoptosis is prevented by RA in neonatal cardiomyocytes. RA improved mitochondrial function by inhibiting the stretch- and Ang II-induced reduction in mitochondrial membrane potential, cytochrome c release and by increasing the Bcl2/Bax ratio. RA inhibited stretch- and Ang II-induced intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) generation and upregulated the SOD2 level. Hydrogen peroxide-induced increases in the number of TUNEL-positive cells and percentage of Annexin V positive cells, were dose-dependently inhibited by RA. The thiol antioxidant, N-acetyl cysteine (NAC), completely inhibited stretch- and Ang II-induced apoptosis. Using diazoxide (mitochondrial ATP-sensitive K(+) channel opener) and SDS (NADPH oxidase activator), we confirmed that RA suppressed both mitochondrial- and NADPH oxidase-derived ROS. We also observed that both RAR and RXR were involved in preventing Ang II- and stretch-induced ROS production and apoptosis, by using selective retinoid receptor agonists and antagonists. Our data provide the first evidence that RA prevents Ang II and stretch induced apoptosis, by inhibiting ROS generation and increasing the anti-oxidant defense system, suggesting that RA-mediated signaling may provide a new therapeutic target for the prevention of the cardiac remodeling process.

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