Role of Neuregulin-1/ErbB signaling in cardiovascular physiology and disease : implications for therapy of heart failure
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
New York, N.Y.
Circulation / American Heart Association. - New York, N.Y.
, p. 954-960
University of Antwerp
Since the discovery that neuregulin-1 (NRG-1)/ErbB signaling is indispensable in cardiac development, evidence has shown that this system also plays a crucial role in the adult heart. In patients, an inhibitory ErbB2 antibody, trastuzumab, used in the treatment of mammary carcinomas, increases the risk for the development of cardiotoxic cardiomyopathy. Postnatal disruption of NRG-1/ErbB signaling by gene targeting in mice leads to dilated cardiomyopathy. Initially, the search for the mechanisms behind these observations focused mainly on the effects of NRG-1 on cardiomyocyte growth and survival and revealed that NRG-1 has Akt-dependent antiapoptotic effects in cultured cardiomyocytes. In vivo studies, however, did not uniformly reinforce a role for apoptosis in the development of cardiomyopathy induced by impaired NRG-1/ErbB signaling. More recent studies have revealed that NRG-1 is involved in the regulation of cardiac sympathovagal balances by counterbalancing adrenergic stimulation of the adult myocardium and through an obligatory interaction with the muscarinic cholinergic system. NRG-1 is synthesized and released by the endocardial and cardiac microvascular endothelium, dynamically controlled by neurohormonal and biomechanical stimuli. The physiology of the cardiac NRG-1/ErbB system has implications for the treatment of both cancer and heart failure. Clinical studies in breast cancer with novel ErbB inhibitors are currently underway. Novel oncological indications for ErbB inhibition are emerging; cardiovascular side effects need to be carefully monitored. On the other hand, pharmacological activation of ErbB signaling is likely an unrecognized and beneficial effect of currently used drugs in heart failure and a promising therapeutic approach to prevent or reverse myocardial dysfunction.