Gap junctional remodeling by hypoxia in cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes
ABSTRACT Altered gap junctional coupling of ventricular myocytes plays an important role in arrhythmogenesis in ischemic heart disease. Since hypoxia is a major component of ischemia, we tested the hypothesis that hypoxia causes gap junctional remodeling accompanied by conduction disturbances.
Cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes were exposed to hypoxia (1% O(2)) for 15 min to 5 h, connexin43 (Cx43) expression was analyzed, and conduction velocity was measured using the Micro-Electrode Array data acquisition system.
After 15 min of hypoxia, conduction velocity was unaffected, while total Cx43, including the phosphorylated and nonphosphorylated isoforms, was increased. After 5 h of hypoxia, total Cx43 protein was decreased by 50%, while the nonphosphorylated Cx43 isoform was unchanged. Confocal analyses yielded a 55% decrease in the gap junctional Cx43 fluorescence signal, a 55% decrease in gap junction number, and a 26% decrease in size. The changes in Cx43 were not accompanied by changes in mRNA levels. The reduction in Cx43 protein levels was associated with a approximately 20% decrease in conduction velocity compared to normoxic cultures.
Short-term hypoxia (5 h) decreases Cx43 protein and conduction velocity, thereby contributing to the generation of an arrhythmogenic substrate.
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ABSTRACT: Although it is well known that 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) can cause various cardiovascular abnormalities and even sudden death from cardiac arrhythmia, whether it has any effect on myocardial gap junctions, which might be one of the targets mediating MDMA-induced cardiotoxicity, remains unclear. OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that MDMA may affect the myocardial gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43) and induce cardiac dysrhythmia. METHOD: 1. in vivo study: adult rats were treated with a single dose MDMA administration (20mg/kg, i.p.). Electrocardiogram detection and immunohistochemical analysis were performed to evaluate cardiac function and expression of Cx43, respectively; 2. in vitro study: cultured ventricular myocytes of neonatal rats were treated with MDMA (10, 100, 1000μmol/L) for 1 hour. Western blotting and real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) were performed to investigate the total Cx43 mRNA expression. Immunofluorescent analysis was used to evaluate the amount of junctional Cx43. The phosphorylation status of Cx43 at site Ser368 and intracellular Ca(2+) oscillation were also studied. RESULTS: obvious changes in electrocardiographic patterns were found in rats following MDMA administration. They were characterized by prolonged QRS duration associated with increased amplitude of QRS complex. The heart rates in treated rats were significantly decreased compared to the rats in the control group. The immunohistochemical findings revealed a significant decrease in Cx43 expression. The in vitro study also showed a marked decline in total Cx43 protein associated with reduction of Cx43 mRNA, whereas the phosphorylated Cx43 at Ser368 was increased. Decrease of junctional Cx43 was found correlated with reduction in N-cadherin induced by high concentration of MDMA. Additionally, confocal microscopy findings revealed alteration of intracellular calcium oscillation patterns characterized by high frequency and increasing influx Ca(2+). CONCLUSIONS: MDMA reduces expression of cardiac gap junction protein Cx43. The increase of phosphorylation status of Cx43 at Ser368 induced by MDMA is attributed, at least in part, to the Ca(2+)-dependent regulation of protein kinase C (PKC) activity. Our findings provide first evidence of MDMA-mediated changes in those cardiac gap junctions that may underlie MDMA-induced cardiac arrhythmia.Toxicology 06/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.tox.2013.05.013 · 3.75 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Background Remote ischemic preconditioning (RIPC) protects the heart from ischemia and reperfusion (I/R) injury. The underlying molecular mechanisms are unclear. It has been demonstrated that Connexin 43 (Cx43) is critically involved in cardioprotective interventions including classical ischemic preconditioning. In the present study we investigated the influence of RIPC on the expression patterns of Cx43 after I/R in the rat heart in vivo.Methods Male Wistar rats were subjected to 35 min regional myocardial ischemia followed by 2 h reperfusion with or without 4 cycles of 5 minutes bilateral hind limb ischemia and reperfusion (RIPC), to RIPC without ischemia or underwent no intervention (Sham). Infarct size was measured by TTC staining. The myocardium was divided into area at risk (AAR) and area not at risk (non AAR). Expression of Cx43-mRNA and protein was analyzed by qPCR and Western Blot analysis, respectively. Localization of Cx43 was visualized by confocal immunofluorescence staining.ResultsRIPC reduced the infarct size (I/R: 73¿±¿5% vs.Journal of Translational Medicine 08/2014; 12(1):228. DOI:10.1186/s12967-014-0228-8 · 3.99 Impact Factor