Haplodeficiency of activin receptor-like kinase 4 alleviates myocardial infarction-induced cardiac fibrosis and preserves cardiac function

Yi-He Chen, Qian Wang, Chang-Yi Li, Jian-Wen Hou, Xiao-Meng Chen, Qing Zhou, Jie Chen, Yue-Peng Wang, Yi-Gang Li
Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology 2017, 105: 1-11
Cardiac fibrosis (CF), a repairing process following myocardial infarction (MI), is characterized by abnormal proliferation of cardiac fibroblasts and excessive deposition of extracellular matrix (ECM) resulting in inevitable resultant heart failure. TGF-β (transforming growth factor-β)/ALK5 (Activin receptor-like kinase 5)/Smad2/3/4 pathways have been reported to be involved in the process. Recent studies have implicated both activin and its specific downstream component ALK4 in stimulating fibrosis in non-cardiac organs. We recently reported that ALK4 is upregulated in the pressure-overloaded heart and its partial inhibition attenuated the pressure overload-induced CF and cardiac dysfunction. However, the role of ALK4 in the pathogenesis of MI-induced CF, which is usually more severe than that induced by pressure-overload, remains unknown. Here we report: 1) In a wild-type mouse model of MI, ALK4 upregulation was restricted in the fibroblasts of the infarct border zone; 2) In contrast, ALK4+/- mice with a haplodeficiency of ALK4 gene, showed a significantly attenuated CF in the border zone, with a smaller scar size, a preserved cardiac function and an improved survival rate post-MI; 3) Similarly to pressure-overloaded heart, these beneficial effects might be through a partial inactivation of the Smad3/4 pathway but not MAPK cascades; 4) The apoptotic rate of the cardiomyocytes were indistinguishable in the border zone of the wild-type control and ALK4+/- mice; 5) Cardiac fibroblasts isolated from ALK4+/- mice showed reduced migration, proliferation and ECM synthesis in response to hypoxia. These results indicate that partial inhibition of ALK4 may reduce MI-induced CF, suggesting ALK4 as a novel target for inhibition of unfavorable CF and for preservation of LV systolic function induced by not only pressure-overload but also MI.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"