Brigitte Laforest

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (5)40.93 Total impact

  • Source
    Brigitte Laforest, Mona Nemer
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    ABSTRACT: Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV) is the most common congenital heart defect, affecting 1-2% of the population. It is generally diagnosed late in adulthood when deterioration of the abnormal leaflet becomes clinically evident. BAV patients have an increased risk of developing serious complications, including stenosis, regurgitation, endocarditis, dilation of the aorta, aortic dissection, and aneurysm. BAV is a heritable trait, but the genetic basis underlying this cardiac malformation remains poorly understood. In the last decade, thanks to studies in animal models as well as genetic and biochemical approaches, a large number of genes that play important roles in heart development have been identified. These discoveries provided valuable insight into cardiac morphogenesis and uncovered congenital-heart-disease-causing genes. This paper will summarize the current knowledge of valve morphogenesis as well as our current understanding of the genetic pathways involved in BAV formation. The impact of these advances on human health including diagnosis of BAV and prevention of cardiovascular complications in individuals with BAV or with a family history of BAV is also discussed.
    Cardiology research and practice. 01/2012; 2012:180297.
  • Source
    Brigitte Laforest, Mona Nemer
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    ABSTRACT: Members of the GATA family of transcription factors are critical regulators of heart development and mutations in 2 of them, GATA4 and GATA6 are associated with outflow tract and septal defects in human. The heart expresses 3 GATA factors, GATA4, 5 and 6 in a partially overlapping pattern. Here, we report that compound Gata4/Gata5 and Gata5/Gata6 mutants die embryonically or perinatally due to severe congenital heart defects. Almost all Gata4(+/-)Gata5(+/-) mutant embryos have double outlet right ventricles (DORV), large ventricular septal defects (VSD) as well as hypertrophied mitral and tricuspid valves. Only 25% of double compound Gata4/Gata5 heterozygotes survive to adulthood and these mice have aortic stenosis. Compound loss of a Gata5 and a Gata6 allele also leads to DORVs associated with subaortic VSDs. Expression of several transcription factors important for endocardial and myocardial cell differentiation, such as Tbx20, Mef2c, Hey1 and Hand2, was reduced in compound heterozygote embryos. These findings suggest the existence of important genetic interactions between Gata5 and the 2 other cardiac GATA factors in endocardial cushion formation and outflow tract morphogenesis. The data identify GATA5 as a potential genetic modifier of congenital heart disease and provide insight for elucidating the genetic basis of an important class of human birth defects.
    Developmental Biology 08/2011; 358(2):368-78. · 3.87 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Brigitte Laforest, Gregor Andelfinger, Mona Nemer
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    ABSTRACT: Bicuspid aortic valve (BAV), the leading congenital heart disease, occurs in 1%-2% of the population. Genetic studies suggest that BAV is an autosomal-dominant disease with reduced penetrance. However, only 1 gene, NOTCH1, has been linked to cases of BAV. Here, we show that targeted deletion of Gata5 in mice leads to hypoplastic hearts and partially penetrant BAV formation. Endocardial cell-specific inactivation of Gata5 led to BAV, similar to that observed in Gata5-/- mice. In all cases, the observed BAVs resulted from fusion of the right-coronary and noncoronary leaflets, the subtype associated with the more severe valve dysfunction in humans. Neither endocardial cell proliferation nor cushion formation was altered in the absence of Gata5. Rather, defective endocardial cell differentiation, resulting from the deregulation of several components of the Notch pathway and other important endocardial cell regulators, may be the underlying mechanism of disease. The results unravel a critical cell-autonomous role for endocardial Gata5 in aortic valve formation and identify GATA5 as a potential gene responsible for congenital heart disease in humans. Mice with mutated Gata5 alleles represent unique models to dissect the mechanisms underlying degenerative aortic valve disease and to develop much-needed preventive and therapeutic interventions.
    The Journal of clinical investigation 06/2011; 121(7):2876-87. · 15.39 Impact Factor
  • Source
    Brigitte Laforest, Mona Nemer
    Circulation Research 04/2011; 108(8):900-2. · 11.86 Impact Factor
  • Source
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    ABSTRACT: In humans, septal defects are among the most prevalent congenital heart diseases, but their cellular and molecular origins are not fully understood. We report that transcription factor Tbx5 is present in a subpopulation of endocardial cells and that its deletion therein results in fully penetrant, dose-dependent atrial septal defects in mice. Increased apoptosis of endocardial cells lacking Tbx5, as well as neighboring TBX5-positive myocardial cells of the atrial septum through activation of endocardial NOS (Nos3), is the underlying mechanism of disease. Compound Tbx5 and Nos3 haploinsufficiency in mice worsens the cardiac phenotype. The data identify a pathway for endocardial cell survival and unravel a cell-autonomous role for Tbx5 therein. The finding that Nos3, a gene regulated by many congenital heart disease risk factors including stress and diabetes, interacts genetically with Tbx5 provides a molecular framework to understand gene-environment interaction in the setting of human birth defects.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 10/2010; 107(45):19356-61. · 9.81 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

53 Citations
40.93 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2012
    • University of Ottawa
      • Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology
      Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
  • 2010–2011
    • Université de Montréal
      • Department of Pediatrics
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada