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Deletion of delta-like 1 homologue accelerates fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation and induces myocardial fibrosis

AuthorsRodríguez, Patricia ; Sassi, Yassine; Troncone, Luca; Bénard, Ludovic; Ishikawa, Kiyotake; Gordon, Ronald E.; Lamas Peláez, Santiago ; Laborda, Jorge; Hajjar, Roger J.; Lebeche, Djamel
KeywordsCardiac fibrosis
Fibroblast–myofibroblast transdifferentiation
TGF-b signalling
Issue Date13-Apr-2018
PublisherOxford University Press
CitationEuropean Heart Journal 40: 967- 978 (2019)
AbstractAims Myocardial fibrosis is associated with profound changes in ventricular architecture and geometry, resulting in diminished cardiac function. There is currently no information on the role of the delta-like homologue 1 (Dlk1) in the regulation of the fibrotic response. Here, we investigated whether Dlk1 is involved in cardiac fibroblast-to-myofibroblast differentiation and regulates myocardial fibrosis and explored the molecular mechanism underpinning its effects in this process. Methods and results Using Dlk1-knockout mice and adenoviral gene delivery, we demonstrate that overexpression of Dlk1 in cardio-fibroblasts resulted in inhibition of fibroblast proliferation and differentiation into myofibroblasts. This process is mediated by TGF-β1 signalling, since isolated fibroblasts lacking Dlk1 exhibited a higher activation of the TGF-β1/Smad-3 pathway at baseline, leading to an earlier acquisition of a myofibroblast phenotype. Likewise, Dlk1-null mice displayed increased TGF-β1/Smad3 cardiac activity, resulting in infiltration/accumulation of myofibroblasts, induction and deposition of extra-domain A-fibronectin isoform and collagen, and activation of pro-fibrotic markers. Furthermore, these profibrotic events were associated with disrupted myofibril integrity, myocyte hypertrophy, and cardiac dysfunction. Interestingly, Dlk1 expression was down-regulated in ischaemic human and porcine heart tissues. Mechanistically, miR-370 mediated Dlk1's regulation of cardiac fibroblast-myofibroblast differentiation by directly targeting TGFβ-R2/Smad-3 signalling, while the Dlk1 canonical target, Notch pathway, does not seem to play a role in this process. Conclusion These findings are the first to demonstrate an inhibitory role of Dlk1 of cardiac fibroblast-to-myofibroblast differentiation by interfering with TGFβ/Smad-3 signalling in the myocardium. Given the deleterious effects of continuous activation of this pathway, we propose Dlk1 as a new potential candidate for therapy in cases where aberrant TGFβ signalling leads to chronic fibrosis.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehy188
Identifiersdoi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehy188
issn: 1522-9645
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