Ventricular ErbB2/ErbB4 activation and downstream signaling in pacing-induced heart failure
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences. Pharmacy
Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology. - London
, p. 33-38
University of Antwerp
The neuregulin-1 (NRG-1)/ErbB system has emerged as a cardioprotective system that becomes activated during myocardial stress, most convincingly shown in response to cardiotoxic chemotherapy. Direct evidence of increased ventricular ErbB receptor activity in heart failure unrelated to cardiotoxic drugs is, however, limited. We investigated changes in NRG-1 expression, ErbB receptor phosphorylation and downstream activation of intracellular ErbB targets during rapid pacing and progressive ventricular dysfunction in the dog. Heart failure was induced in dogs by 7 weeks of rapid pacing. Ventricular function was assessed by echocardiography. Messenger RNA expression was investigated in ventricular biopsies using quantitative PCR. Activation of NRG-1/ErbB signaling and of downstream targets was investigated using immunoprecipitation and/or Western blotting. Over the course of 7 weeks of pacing and ventricular dilatation, ventricular levels of NRG-1, but not of other ErbB4 ligands, and of ADAM19, a protease promoting NRG-1 release, progressively increased. In parallel, levels of activated ErbB2 and ErbB4, phosphorylated at tyrosine residues 877/1248 and 1284 respectively, became progressively higher. Similarly, levels of total and phosphorylated PI-3 kinase increased. Surprisingly, however, and in contrast with activation of downstream targets of ErbB receptors in normal hearts, Akt and ERK1/2, remained inactivated. This study shows that ventricular ErbB2 and ErbB4 receptors become activated during the development of pacing-induced heart failure, but that downstream signaling is, at least partly, abrogated. Abrogation of cardioprotective signaling after ErbB activation is an unanticipated phenomenon in the progression of heart failure with possibly major pathophysiological significance. The underlying mechanisms should be further elucidated.