Hanna Leskinen

Oulu University Hospital, Uleoborg, Oulu, Finland

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Publications (69)

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Haemodynamic overload exposes the heart to variety of neural, humoral and mechanical stresses. Even without the neurohumoral control of the entire organism cardiac myocytes have the ability to sense mechanical stretch and convert it into adaptive intracellular signals. This process is controlled by several growth factors. Here we show that mechanical stretch in vitro and haemodynamic overload in vivo activated the expression of bone morphogenetic protein-2 (BMP-2), while expression of BMP-4 was temporarily attenuated by stretch. BMP-2 and BMP-4 alone stimulated B-type and atrial natriuretic peptide (BNP and ANP) expression and protein synthesis, and activated transcription factor GATA-4 resembling the effects of mechanical stretch of cultured cardiac myocytes. Further, BMP antagonist Noggin was able to inhibit stretch and hypertrophic agonist induced BNP and ANP expression. Together these data provide evidence for BMP-2 as a new autocrine/paracrine factor that regulates cardiomyocyte mechanotransduction and adaptation to increased mechanical stretch.
    Article · Sep 2014 · Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Active involvement of extracellular matrix (ECM) and its composition regulating factors may have a central role in the pathogenesis of calcific aortic valve disease (CAVD). Thrombospondins (TSPs) are highly conserved matricellular proteins regulating inflammation, angiogenesis and ECM remodeling. These processes are strongly associated with progression of aortic valve stenosis (AS). However, the expression of TSPs in CAVD is not known. We characterized the expression of TSPs 1-4 in human aortic valves by real-time quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction and immunohistochemistry. Control valves (n=8), thickened and stiffened fibro(sclero)tic valves (n=8), and calcified AS valves (n=24) were compared. Furthermore, potential factors regulating TSP-2 expression was studied by western blotting and gel mobility shift assay in another set of control (n=10) and AS (n=20) valves. TSP-2 mRNA levels were increased 4.9-fold (P=0.037) and 4.8-fold (P=0.001) in fibro(sclero)tic and stenotic valves, respectively, whereas the expression of other TSPs did not change significantly. All TSPs 1-4 were detected from aortic valves by immunohistochemistry. Positive TSP-2 immunostaining was seen in the valvular myofibroblasts and patchily in endothelial cells. Semiquantitative analysis of TSP-2 staining indicated increased immunoreactivity for TSP-2 in neo vessels of fibro(sclero)tic and calcified aortic valves. Finally, when compared to controls, AS was associated with significant down regulation of Akt-pathway and diminished binding activity of nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB). We report for the first time that TSPs 1-4 are expressed in human aortic valves. CAVD is characterized by myofibroblastic proliferation and neovascularization associated upregulation of TSP-2 expression, as well as inactivation of Akt and NF-κB.
    Article · Jan 2012 · Atherosclerosis
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) is an endogenous peptide produced under physiological and pathological conditions mainly by ventricular myocytes. It has natriuretic, diuretic, blood pressure-lowering, and antifibrotic actions that could mediate cardiorenal protection in cardiovascular diseases. In the present study, we used BNP gene transfer to examine functional and structural effects of BNP on left ventricular (LV) remodeling. Human BNP was overexpressed by using adenovirus-mediated gene delivery in normal rat hearts and in hearts during the remodeling process after infarction and in an experimental model of angiotensin II-mediated hypertension. In healthy hearts, BNP gene delivery into the anterior wall of the LV decreased myocardial fibrosis (P<0.01, n=7 to 8) and increased capillary density (P<0.05, n=7 to 8) associated with a 7.3-fold increase in LV BNP peptide levels. Overexpression of BNP improved LV fractional shortening by 22% (P<0.05, n=6 to 7) and ejection fraction by 19% (P<0.05, n=6 to 7) after infarction. The favorable effect of BNP gene delivery on cardiac function after infarction was associated with normalization of cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase expression and phospholamban Thr17-phosphorylation. BNP gene delivery also improved fractional shortening and ejection fraction in angiotensin II-mediated hypertension as well as decreased myocardial fibrosis and LV collagen III mRNA levels but had no effect on angiogenesis or Ca(2+)-ATPase expression and phospholamban phosphorylation. Local intramyocardial BNP gene delivery improves cardiac function and attenuates adverse postinfarction and angiotensin II-induced remodeling. These results also indicate that myocardial BNP has pleiotropic, context-dependent, favorable actions on cardiac function and suggest that BNP acts locally as a key mechanical load-activated regulator of angiogenesis and fibrosis.
    Full-text Article · May 2011 · Circulation Heart Failure
  • I H E Kasanen · H-M Voipio · H Leskinen · [...] · T O Nevalainen
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Individual and permanent identification of experimental animals is a common and often essential research practice. There is little information available on the short-term effects of these procedures on the animals. In this study, seven rats were implanted with telemetric devices. The effects of three different identification methods (ear tattoo, ear notching and microtattoo) were compared. Cardiovascular data were collected for 24 h after the procedures. Time periods of 0-1, 1-4, 4-16 h (dark) and 16-24 h after the procedure were analysed separately. The most pronounced differences in measured parameters were observed during the first hour after the procedures were performed. Mean arterial pressure (MAP) was significantly higher (P < 0.012) following the ear tattoo than the microtattoo procedure by a difference of approximately 5 mmHg. Heart rate (HR) was significantly elevated (P < 0.001) after ear tattoo compared with both ear notching (Δ = 31 beats per minute [bpm]) and microtattoo (Δ = 44 bpm). During the 1-4 h period and the following dark period, the MAP was highest in the ear notching group, but no differences were observed in the HRs. During the following dark period (4-16 h) and the next day (16-24 h) differences in MAP and HR were minor. In conclusion, microtattoo appears to cause the mildest changes in HR and blood pressure. Based on these results, ear tattoo and ear notching should be replaced by microtattoo whenever possible.
    Article · Apr 2011 · Laboratory Animals
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Parthenolide has shown promise in treatment of various cancers via inhibition of the transcription factor signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3). Activation of STAT3 has been observed in left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH); however, its exact role is not known. The aim of the study was to examine the effects of parthenolide on pressure overload-induced LVH in rats. Pressure overload was induced by angiotensin II (Ang II) infusion (33 μg/kg/h) for 1 week in the presence or absence of parthenolide (0.5mg/kg/day, i.p.). Ang II infusion resulted in LVH associated with increased phosphorylation of STAT3 at Tyr705 and Ser727. Parthenolide treatment had no effect on ejection fraction, but abolished the activation of STAT3 and reduced the Ang II-induced LVH (LV posterior wall thickness in end-diastole: 2.28 ± 0.12 mm vs. 1.80 ± 0.06 mm, P<0.001). Importantly, parthenolide treatment had no effect on heart rate or blood pressure. Parthenolide treatment almost completely abolished the Ang II-induced increase in the number of cells positive for prolyl-4-hydroxylase, a marker for collagen-synthesizing cells, as well as Ang II-induced interstitial fibrosis in the left ventricles. This was associated with significant attenuation of Ang II-induced increase in mRNA levels of type 1 collagen and fibronectin. Moreover, parthenolide attenuated the Ang II-induced expression of interleukin-6, a potent pro-hypertrophic fibroblast-derived factor. We conclude that pharmacological inhibition of STAT3 signaling by parthenolide has favorable effects on pressure overload-induced LVH through attenuation of fibroblast activation. Therefore parthenolide may prove as a useful therapy for certain cardiovascular disease.
    Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) has been linked to the pathogenesis of contractile dysfunction in heart failure. However, it is unclear whether ROS can regulate physiological cellular processes in the myocardium. Here, we characterized the role of endogenous ROS production in the acute regulation of cardiac contractility in the intact rat heart. In isolated perfused rat hearts, endothelin-1 (ET-1, 1nmol/L) stimulated ROS formation in the left ventricle, which was prevented by the antioxidant N-acetylcysteine and the NAD(P)H oxidase inhibitor apocynin. N-acetylcysteine, the superoxide dismutase mimetic MnTMPyP, and apocynin significantly attenuated ET-1-mediated inotropic effect, which was accompanied by inhibition of extracellular signal regulated kinase 1/2 (ERK1/2) phosphorylation. Moreover, the mitochondrial K(ATP) channel blocker 5-HD, and the mitochondrial large conductance calcium activated potassium channel blocker paxilline, but not the sarcolemmal K(ATP) channel blocker HMR 1098 attenuated the inotropic response to ET-1. However, ET-1-induced ROS generation was not abolished by inhibiting mitochondrial K(ATP) channel opening. In contrast to ET-1 stimulation, the positive inotropic effect of β(1)-adrenergic receptor agonist dobutamine (250nmol/L) was significantly augmented by N-acetylcysteine and apocynin. Moreover, dobutamine-induced phospholamban phosphorylation was markedly enhanced by apocynin. In conclusion, NAD(P)H oxidase-derived ROS play a physiological role in the acute regulation of cardiac contractility in the intact rat heart. Our results reveal that ET-1-induced increase in cardiac contractility is partially dependent on enhanced ROS generation, which in turn, activates the ERK1/2 pathway. On the other hand, β-adrenergic receptor-induced positive inotropic effect and phospholamban phosphorylation is enhanced by NAD(P)H oxidase inhibition.
    Article · Feb 2011 · Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The extracellular matrix (ECM) is a major determinant of the structural integrity and functional properties of the myocardium in common pathological conditions, and changes in vasculature contribute to cardiac dysfunction. Collagen (Col) XV is preferentially expressed in the ECM of cardiac muscle and microvessels. We aimed to characterize the ECM, cardiovascular function and responses to elevated cardiovascular load in mice lacking Col XV (Col15a1(-/-)) to define its functional role in the vasculature and in age- and hypertension-associated myocardial remodeling. Cardiac structure and vasculature were analyzed by light and electron microscopy. Cardiac function, intraarterial blood pressure, microhemodynamics, and gene expression profiles were studied using echocardiography, telemetry, intravital microscopy, and PCR, respectively. Experimental hypertension was induced with angiotensin II or with a nitric oxide synthesis inhibitor. Under basal conditions, lack of Col XV resulted in increased permeability and impaired microvascular hemodynamics, distinct early-onset and age-dependent defects in heart structure and function, a poorly organized fibrillar collagen matrix with marked interstitial deposition of nonfibrillar protein aggregates, increased tissue stiffness, and irregularly organized cardiomyocytes. In response to experimental hypertension, Col15a1 gene expression was increased in the left ventricle of wild-type mice, and mRNA expression of natriuretic peptides (ANP and BNP) and ECM modeling were abnormal in Col15a1(-/-) mice. Col XV is necessary for ECM organization in the heart, and for the structure and functions of microvessels. Col XV deficiency leads to a complex cardiac phenotype and predisposes the subject to pathological responses under cardiac stress.
    Article · Nov 2010 · Circulation Research
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial cardiomyopathy is associated with deleterious remodelling of cardiomyocyte Ca(2+) signalling that is partly due to the suppressed expression of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) buffer calsequestrin (CASQ2). This study was aimed at determining whether CASQ2 downregulation is directly caused by impaired mitochondrial function. Mitochondrial stress was induced in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes by means of the mitochondrial uncoupler carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy) phenylhydrazone (FCCP). Ca(2+) transients and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured by confocal microscopy using the indicators fluo-4 and MitoSOX red, respectively. Mitochondrial stress led to concentration-dependent downregulation of calsequestrin (CASQ2) and changes in the Ca(2+) signals of the cardiomyocytes that were accompanied by reduction in SR Ca(2+) content and amplitude and duration of Ca(2+) sparks. Caspase 3, p38, and p53 inhibitors had no effect on FCCP-induced CASQ2 downregulation; however, it was attenuated by the ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Importantly, NAC not only decreased FCCP-induced ROS production, but it also restored the Ca(2+) signals, SR Ca(2+) content, and Ca(2+) spark properties to control levels. Mitochondrial uncoupling results in fast transcriptional changes in CASQ2 expression that manifest as compromised Ca(2+) signalling, and these changes can be prevented by ROS scavengers. As impaired mitochondrial function has been implicated in several cardiac pathologies as well as in normal ageing, the mechanisms described here might be involved in a wide spectrum of cardiac conditions.
    Full-text Article · Oct 2010 · Cardiovascular Research
  • S.L. Hänninen · J.J. Ronkainen · H. Leskinen · P. Tavi
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aims: Mitochondrial cardiomyopathy is associated with deleterious remodelling of cardiomyocyte Ca²⁺ signalling that is partly due to the suppressed expression of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca²⁺ buffer calsequestrin (CASQ2). This study was aimed at determining whether CASQ2 downregulation is directly caused by impaired mitochondrial function. Methods and results: Mitochondrial stress was induced in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes by means of the mitochondrial uncoupler carbonyl cyanide 4-(trifluoromethoxy) phenylhydrazone (FCCP). Ca²⁺ transients and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were measured by confocal microscopy using the indicators fluo-4 and MitoSOX red, respectively. Mitochondrial stress led to concentration-dependent downregulation of calsequestrin (CASQ2) and changes in the Ca²⁺ signals of the cardiomyocytes that were accompanied by reduction in SR Ca²⁺ content and amplitude and duration of Ca²⁺ sparks. Caspase 3, p38, and p53 inhibitors had no effect on FCCP-induced CASQ2 downregulation; however, it was attenuated by the ROS scavenger N-acetylcysteine (NAC). Importantly, NAC not only decreased FCCP-induced ROS production, but it also restored the Ca²⁺ signals, SR Ca²⁺ content, and Ca²⁺ spark properties to control levels. Conclusion: Mitochondrial uncoupling results in fast transcriptional changes in CASQ2 expression that manifest as compromised Ca²⁺ signalling, and these changes can be prevented by ROS scavengers. As impaired mitochondrial function has been implicated in several cardiac pathologies as well as in normal ageing, the mechanisms described here might be involved in a wide spectrum of cardiac conditions. © The Author 2010. Published on behalf of the European Society of Cardiology. All rights reserved.
    Article · Jun 2010
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Accumulating evidence supports the concept that proinflammatory cytokines play an essential role in the failing heart. We examined the concomitant tumour necrosis factor-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK)/Fn14 expression in myocytes in vitro as well as in vivo in cardiac remodelling. We assessed TWEAK and its receptor Fn14 expression in response to angiotensin (Ang) II, myocardial infarction (MI) as well as to local adenovirus-mediated p38 gene transfer in vivo. The effect of various hypertrophic factors and mechanical stretch was studied in neonatal rat ventricular myocyte cell culture. Ang II increased Fn14 levels from 6 h to 2 weeks, the greatest increase in mRNA levels being observed at 6 h (6.3-fold, P < 0.001) and protein levels at 12 h (4.9-fold, P < 0.01). TWEAK mRNA and protein levels remained almost unchanged during Ang II infusion. Likewise, a rapid and sustained elevation of Fn14 mRNA and protein levels in the left ventricle was observed after experimental MI. Moreover, local p38 gene transfer increased Fn14 mRNA and protein but not TWEAK levels. Fn14 immunoreactive cells were mainly proliferating non-myocytes in the inflammation area while TWEAK immunoreactivity localized to cardiomyocytes and endothelial cells of the coronary arteries. Hypertrophic agonists and lipopolysaccharide increased Fn14 but not TWEAK gene expression in neonatal rat myocytes, while mechanical stretch upregulated Fn14 and downregulated TWEAK gene expression. In conclusion, the cardiac TWEAK/Fn14 pathway is modified in response to myocardial injury, inflammation and pressure overload. Furthermore, our findings underscore the importance of Fn14 as a mediator of TWEAK/Fn14 signalling in the heart and a potential target for therapeutic interventions.
    Article · May 2010 · Acta Physiologica
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent data suggest that GATA-4 is an antiapoptotic factor required for adaptive responses and a key regulator of hypertrophy and hypertrophy-associated genes in the heart. As a leading cause of chronic heart failure, reversal of postinfarction left ventricular remodeling represents an important target for therapeutic interventions. Here, we studied the role of GATA-4 as a mediator of postinfarction remodeling in rats. Myocardial infarction, caused by ligating the left anterior descending coronary artery, significantly decreased the DNA binding activity of GATA-4 at day 1, whereas at 2 weeks the GATA-4 DNA binding was significantly upregulated. To determine the functional role of GATA-4, peri-infarct intramyocardial delivery of adenoviral vector expressing GATA-4 was done before left anterior descending coronary artery ligation. Hearts treated with GATA-4 gene transfer exhibited significantly increased ejection fraction and fractional shortening. Accordingly, infarct size was significantly reduced. To determine the cardioprotective mechanisms of GATA-4, myocardial angiogenesis, rate of apoptosis, c-kit+ cardiac stemlike cells, and genes regulated by GATA-4 were studied. The number of capillaries and stemlike cells was significantly increased, and decreased apoptosis was observed. These results indicate that the reversal of reduced GATA-4 activity prevents adverse postinfarction remodeling through myocardial angiogenesis, antiapoptosis, and stem cell recruitment. GATA-4-based gene transfer may represent a novel, efficient therapeutic approach for heart failure.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2010 · Circulation Heart Failure
  • Article · Mar 2010 · Acta Physiologica Hungarica
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    Erja Mustonen · Hanna Leskinen · Jani Aro · [...] · Jaana Rysä
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Thrombospondins are matrix proteins linked to extracellular matrix remodelling but their precise role in the heart is not known. In this study, we characterised left ventricular thrombospondin-1 and -4 expression in rats treated with a beta-blocker metoprolol during the remodelling process in response to pressure overload and acute myocardial infarction. Left ventricular thrombospondin-1 and thrombospondin-4 mRNA levels increased 8.4-fold (p < 0.001) and 7.3-fold (p < 0.001) post-infarction, respectively. Metoprolol infusion by osmotic minipumps (1.5 mg/kg/hr) for 2 weeks after myocardial infarction decreased thrombospondin-1 and thrombospondin-4 mRNA levels (55% and 50%, respectively), improved left ventricular function, and attenuated left ventricular remodelling with reduction of left ventricular atrial natriuretic peptide and brain natriuretic peptide gene expression. Thrombospondin-1 and -4 mRNA levels correlated positively with echocardiographic parameters of left ventricular remodelling as well as with atrial natriuretic peptide and brain natriuretic peptide gene expression. Moreover, there was a negative correlation between left ventricular ejection fraction and thrombospondin-1 mRNA levels. In 12-month-old spontaneously hypertensive rats with left ventricular hypertrophy, metoprolol decreased left ventricular thrombospondin-4 levels and attenuated remodelling while thrombospondin-1, atrial natriuretic peptide and brain natriuretic peptide mRNA levels as well as left ventricular function remained unchanged. In metoprolol-treated spontaneously hypertensive rats, thrombospondin-4 gene expression correlated with parameters of left ventricular remodelling, while no correlations between thrombospondins and natriuretic peptides were observed. These results indicate that thrombospondin-1 expression is linked exclusively to left ventricular remodelling process post-infarction while thrombospondin-4 associates with myocardial remodelling both after myocardial infarction and in hypertensive heart disease suggesting that thrombospondins may have unique roles in extracellular matrix remodelling process.
    Full-text Article · Mar 2010 · Basic & Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology
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    H-M Voipio · I H E Kasanen · H Leskinen · [...] · T Nevalainen
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: According to the European recommendations rodents should be provided with a nest box if there is insufficient nesting material to build a complete, covered nest. Rats are generally poor nest builders; hence an additional structure is needed. Optimally, housing refinement may be combined with better science; at least it should not detract from the scientific integrity. In order to evaluate these options, there is a need to assess the items used in individual research projects. Studies investigating molecular mechanisms of cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure are typically long-lasting studies; therefore, refinement of the housing of rats in these studies is important. The aim of this study was to evaluate in rats whether a wooden tube has any impact on cardiac morphology or on basal gene expression of atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP); known markers of cardiac overload, hypertrophy and heart failure. The experimental protocol simulated cardiovascular studies, but without any surgical operations. A total of 42 male Hsd:SD rats were used in an eight-week experiment. After weaning, the experimental group was provided with a rectangular aspen tube and nesting material, and the control group with only nesting material. ANP and BNP gene expression were measured from the left ventricles with Northern blot analysis postmortem along with the absolute weights of the whole heart, left and right atria and left and right chambers. The weights of the whole heart and left chamber were also analysed in relation to body weight. No statistically significant differences were observed in any of these variables. The inter-individual variation was also unchanged by the cage item. In conclusion, the aspen tube does not disrupt research results or alter the number of animals needed and can therefore be recommended for enrichment purposes in cardiovascular studies.
    Full-text Article · Feb 2010 · Laboratory Animals
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Dyxin is a novel LIM domain protein acting as a transcriptional cofactor with GATA transcription factors. Here, we characterized dyxin as a p38 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) regulated gene, since combined upstream MAPK kinase 3b and wild-type p38 alpha MAPK gene transfer increased left ventricular dyxin mRNA and protein levels in vivo. We also studied cardiac dyxin expression in experimental models of pressure overload and myocardial infarction (MI) in vivo. Angiotensin II infusion increased left ventricular dyxin mRNA levels (9.4-fold, p<0.001) rapidly at 6 h followed by induction of protein levels. Furthermore, simultaneous administration of p38 MAPK inhibitor SB203580 abolished angiotensin II-induced activation of dyxin gene expression. During the post-infarction remodeling process, increased dyxin mRNA levels (7.7-fold, p<0.01) were noted at day 1 followed by the increase in proteins levels at 2 weeks after MI (1.5-fold, p<0.05). Moreover, direct wall stretch by using isolated rat heart preparation as well as direct mechanical stretch of cardiomyocytes in vitro activated dyxin gene expression within 1 h. Our results indicate that dyxin expression is rapidly upregulated in response to mechanical load, this increase being at least partly mediated by p38 MAPK. These results suggest that dyxin may play an important role in regulating hypertrophic process.
    Article · Feb 2010 · Blood pressure
  • Inka Liesmaa · Hanna K Leskinen · Jorma O Kokkonen · [...] · Ken A Lindstedt
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Bradykinin receptors are differentially expressed in the coronary vascular endothelium of rat and human hearts during the pathogenesis of heart failure, but the mechanisms responsible for this regulation have remained vague. Here we show by quantitative real-time PCR, Western blot analysis, and immunohistochemistry, that hypoxia triggers the expression of bradykinin type-2 receptors (BK-2Rs) in cultured human coronary artery endothelial cells (HCAECs), in isolated rat cardiac microvascular endothelial cells (RCMECs), and in rat hearts subjected to ligation of the left anterior descending coronary artery. Mild hypoxia (5% O(2)) induced a fourfold temporal increase in BK-2R mRNA expression in HCAECs, which was also observed at the protein level, whereas severe hypoxia (1% O(2)) slightly inhibited the mRNA expression of BK-2Rs. In addition, HOE-140, a BK-2R antagonist, inhibited mRNA and protein expression of BK-2Rs. The BK-2Rs induced by mild hypoxia were biologically active, that is, capable of inducing intracellular production of nitric oxide (NO) upon activation of HCAECs with bradykinin (BK), a response attenuated by HOE-140. In rat hearts recovering from myocardial infarction, BK-2Rs were upregulated in the endothelium of vessels forming at the border zone between fibrotic scar tissue and healthy myocardium. Furthermore, in an in vitro wound-healing assay, RCMEC migration was increased under mild hypoxic culture conditions in the presence of BK and was attenuated with HOE-140. Our present results show that mild hypoxia triggers a temporal expression of functional BK-2Rs in human and rat endothelial cells and support a role for BK-2Rs in hypoxia-induced angiogenesis.
    Article · Nov 2009 · Journal of Cellular Physiology
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Diabetes increases the risk for fatal myocardial infarction and development of heart failure. Levosimendan, an inodilator acting both via calcium sensitization and opening of ATP-dependent potassium channels, is used intravenously for acute decompensated heart failure. The long-term effects of oral levosimendan on postinfarct heart failure are largely unknown. To examine whether oral treatment with levosimendan could improve cardiac functions and prevent cardiac remodeling after myocardial infarction in a rodent model of type 2 diabetes, the Goto-Kakizaki rat. Myocardial infarction (MI) was induced to diabetic Goto-Kakizaki and nondiabetic Wistar rats by coronary ligation. Twenty-four hours after surgery, Goto-Kakizaki and Wistar rats were randomized into four groups: MI group without treatment, MI group with levosimendan for 12 weeks (1 mg/kg per day), sham-operated group, sham-operated group with levosimendan. Blood pressure, cardiac functions as wells as markers of cardiac remodeling were determined. In Goto-Kakizaki rats, MI induced systolic heart failure, pronounced cardiac hypertrophy in the remote area, and sustained cardiomyocyte apoptosis. Postinfarct cardiac remodeling was associated with increased atrial natriuretic peptide, interleukin-6 and connective tissue growth factor mRNA expressions, as well as three-fold increased cardiomyocyte senescence, measured as cardiac p16 mRNA expression. Levosimendan improved cardiac function and prevented postinfarct cardiomyocyte hypertrophy, cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and cellular senescence. Levosimendan also ameliorated MI-induced atrial natriuretic peptide, IL-6, and connective tissue growth factor overexpression as well as MI-induced disturbances in calcium-handling proteins (SERCA2, Na-Ca exchanger) without changes in diabetic status or systemic blood pressure. In nondiabetic Wistar rats, MI induced systolic heart failure; however, the postinfarct cardiac remodeling was associated with less pronounced cardiac hypertrophy, cardiomyocyte apoptosis, inflammatory reaction, and induction of cellular senescence. Levosimendan only partially prevented postinfarct heart failure and cardiac remodeling in Wistar rats. Our findings suggest a therapeutic role for oral levosimendan in prevention of postinfarct heart failure and cardiac remodeling in type 2 diabetes and underscore the importance of sustained cardiomyocyte apoptosis and induction of cellular senescence in the pathogenesis.
    Article · Oct 2009 · Journal of Hypertension
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Matrix Gla protein (MGP) expression is increased in cardiac hypertrophy, but the precise mechanisms regulating its expression are unknown. Here we characterized the effect of pressure overload and myocardial infarction in vivo as well as mechanical stretch and hypertrophic agonists in vitro on MGP expression. When angiotensin II (Ang II) was administered by osmotic minipumps, left ventricular (LV) MGP mRNA levels increased significantly from 6 h to 2 weeks, whereas intravenous arginine(8)-vasopressin increased LV MGP mRNA levels within 4 h. During post-infarction remodeling process, MGP mRNA levels were elevated at 24 h (1.3-fold, p<0.05) and the maximal increase was observed at 4 weeks (2.8-fold, p<0.01). Ang II increased MGP mRNA levels 20% (p<0.05) in neonatal rat cardiac myocytes and 40% (p<0.05) in cardiac fibroblasts, whereas endothelin-1 decreased MGP mRNA levels 30% (p<0.01) in myocytes and had no effect in fibroblasts. Cyclic mechanical stretch resulted in reduction of MGP gene expression in both cardiac myocytes and fibroblasts. These results demonstrate that MGP is rapidly upregulated in response to cardiac overload well before the development of LV hypertrophy and post-infarction remodeling process. Our results also suggest that Ang II may be involved in mediating load-induced activation of MGP expression.
    Article · Oct 2009 · Blood pressure
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    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcium-sensitizing agents have been shown to improve cardiac function in patients suffering from acute decompensated heart failure, however, their long-term effects on cardiac remodeling and cardiovascular mortality are still largely unknown. In the present study we tested the hypothesis whether OR-1896, an active and long-lasting metabolite of calcium sensitizer levosimendan, prevents cardiovascular mortality and hypertension-induced myocardial remodelling in salt-sensitive Dahl/Rapp rats. OR-1896 was given orally to Dahl/Rapp SS rats on high-salt diet (NaCl 7% w/w) for 7 weeks at two different doses (0.5 and 0.05 mg/kg). OR-1896 prevented salt-induced cardiovascular mortality (survival rate 75 % in OR-1896 treated groups vs 38 % in untreated controls, p<0.01), ameliorated cardiac hypertrophy and improved systolic functions of the heart without major influence on systemic blood pressure. OR-1896 also ameliorated salt-induced increase in cardiac ANP mRNA expression and plasma BNP level. Salt-induced cardiac remodelling was associated with 4-fold increase in cardiac p16(INK4a) mRNA expression, a marker of cellular senescence. OR-1896 dose-dependently ameliorated cardiomyocyte senescence. Our findings suggest a therapeutic role for OR-1896 in the prevention of cardiac remodelling in salt-sensitive forms of hypertension. The present study also underscores the importance of cellular senescence in the pathogenesis of salt-induced hypertensive heart disease.
    Full-text Article · Sep 2009 · Journal of physiology and pharmacology: an official journal of the Polish Physiological Society
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    Dataset: Table S1
    Zhijun Chen · Hanna Leskinen · Erkki Liimatta · [...] · J. Kalervo Hiltunen
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The rates of state 3 and 4 respiration of liver and heart mitochondria with various substrates. The liver and heart mitochondria were isolated as described [1] after 12 h fast. The incubations were carried out with 0.5–1.2 mg/ml of mitochondrial protein at 30°C in the appropriate medium (Materials and Methods) and 2 mM glutamate, 2 mM malate, 2 mM pyruvate, or 2 mM succinate. ADP was used at 1 mM concentration. The rate of oxygen consumption (nmol O2/min per mg protein) was monitored with Clark type oxgen electrode. The results are expressed as mean±standard deviation. The statistical significance was estimated using the Student's t test and the P-values are given. (0.02 MB DOC)
    Full-text Dataset · May 2009

Publication Stats

1k Citations


  • 2007
    • Oulu University Hospital
      Uleoborg, Oulu, Finland
  • 1994-2005
    • University of Oulu
      • Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology
      Uleoborg, Northern Ostrobothnia, Finland
  • 2001
    • Mayo Clinic - Rochester
      • Department of Cardiovascular Diseases
      Рочестер, Minnesota, United States
  • 2000
    • Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research
      • Division of Cardiovascular Diseases
      Рочестер, Michigan, United States