Open AccessReview
The Role of Cerl2 in the Establishment of Left-Right Asymmetries during Axis Formation and Heart Development
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 23; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040023 -
Abstract
The formation of the asymmetric left-right (LR) body axis is one of the fundamental aspects of vertebrate embryonic development, and one still raising passionate discussions among scientists. Although the conserved role of nodal is unquestionable in this process, several of the details around
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The formation of the asymmetric left-right (LR) body axis is one of the fundamental aspects of vertebrate embryonic development, and one still raising passionate discussions among scientists. Although the conserved role of nodal is unquestionable in this process, several of the details around this signaling cascade are still unanswered. To further understand this mechanism, we have been studying Cerberus-like 2 (Cerl2), an inhibitor of Nodal, and its role in the generation of asymmetries in the early vertebrate embryo. The absence of Cerl2 results in a wide spectrum of malformations commonly known as heterotaxia, which comprises defects in either global organ position (e.g., situs inversus totalis), reversed orientation of at least one organ (e.g., situs ambiguus), and mirror images of usually asymmetric paired organs (e.g., left or right isomerisms of the lungs). Moreover, these laterality defects are frequently associated with congenital heart diseases (e.g., transposition of the great arteries, or atrioventricular septal defects). Here, reviewing the knowledge on the establishment of LR asymmetry in mouse embryos, the emerging conclusion is that as necessary as is the activation of the Nodal signaling cascade, the tight control that Cerl2-mediates on Nodal signaling is equally important, and that generates a further regionalized LR genetic program in the proper time and space. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Potential of a Novel Class of EPAC-Selective Agonists to Combat Cardiovascular Inflammation
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 22; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040022 -
Abstract
The cyclic 3′,5′-adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) sensor enzyme, EPAC1, is a candidate drug target in vascular endothelial cells (VECs) due to its ability to attenuate proinflammatory cytokine signalling normally associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including atherosclerosis. This is through the EPAC1-dependent induction of the
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The cyclic 3′,5′-adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) sensor enzyme, EPAC1, is a candidate drug target in vascular endothelial cells (VECs) due to its ability to attenuate proinflammatory cytokine signalling normally associated with cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), including atherosclerosis. This is through the EPAC1-dependent induction of the suppressor of cytokine signalling gene, SOCS3, which targets inflammatory signalling proteins for ubiquitinylation and destruction by the proteosome. Given this important role for the EPAC1/SOCS3 signalling axis, we have used high throughput screening (HTS) to identify small molecule EPAC1 regulators and have recently isolated the first known non-cyclic nucleotide (NCN) EPAC1 agonist, I942. I942 therefore represents the first in class, isoform selective EPAC1 activator, with the potential to suppress pro-inflammatory cytokine signalling with a reduced risk of side effects associated with general cAMP-elevating agents that activate multiple response pathways. The development of augmented I942 analogues may therefore provide improved research tools to validate EPAC1 as a potential therapeutic target for the treatment of chronic inflammation associated with deadly CVDs. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Physiopathology of Cardiorenal Syndrome: A Review of the Potential Contributions of Inflammation
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 21; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040021 -
Abstract
Inter-organ crosstalk plays an essential role in the physiological homeostasis of the heart and other organs, and requires a complex interaction between a host of cellular, molecular, and neural factors. Derangements in these interactions can initiate multi-organ dysfunction. This is the case, for
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Inter-organ crosstalk plays an essential role in the physiological homeostasis of the heart and other organs, and requires a complex interaction between a host of cellular, molecular, and neural factors. Derangements in these interactions can initiate multi-organ dysfunction. This is the case, for instance, in the heart or kidneys where a pathological alteration in one organ can unfavorably affect function in another distant organ; attention is currently being paid to understanding the physiopathological consequences of kidney dysfunction on cardiac performance that lead to cardiorenal syndrome. Different cardiorenal connectors (renin–angiotensin or sympathetic nervous system activation, inflammation, uremia, etc.) and non-traditional risk factors potentially contribute to multi-organ failure. Of these, inflammation may be crucial as inflammatory cells contribute to over-production of eicosanoids and lipid second messengers that activate intracellular signaling pathways involved in pathogenesis. Indeed, inflammation biomarkers are often elevated in patients with cardiac or renal dysfunction. Epigenetics, a dynamic process that regulates gene expression and function, is also recognized as an important player in single-organ disease. Principal epigenetic modifications occur at the level of DNA (i.e., methylation) and histone proteins; aberrant DNA methylation is associated with pathogenesis of organ dysfunction through a number of mechanisms (inflammation, nitric oxide bioavailability, endothelin, etc.). Herein, we focus on the potential contribution of inflammation in pathogenesis of cardiorenal syndrome. Full article
Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Growth and Morphogenesis during Early Heart Development in Amniotes
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 20; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040020 -
Abstract
In this review, we will focus on the growth and morphogenesis of the developing heart, an aspect of cardiovascular development to which Antoon Moorman and colleagues have extensively contributed. Over the last decades, genetic studies and characterization of regionally regulated gene programs have
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In this review, we will focus on the growth and morphogenesis of the developing heart, an aspect of cardiovascular development to which Antoon Moorman and colleagues have extensively contributed. Over the last decades, genetic studies and characterization of regionally regulated gene programs have provided abundant novel insights into heart development essential to understand the basis of congenital heart disease. Heart morphogenesis, however, is inherently a complex and dynamic three-dimensional process and we are far from understanding its cellular basis. Here, we discuss recent advances in studying heart morphogenesis and regionalization under the light of the pioneering work of Moorman and colleagues, which allowed the reinterpretation of regional gene expression patterns under a new morphogenetic framework. Two aspects of early heart formation will be discussed in particular: (1) the initial formation of the heart tube and (2) the formation of the cardiac chambers by the ballooning process. Finally, we emphasize that in addition to analyses based on fixed samples, new approaches including clonal analysis, single-cell sequencing, live-imaging and quantitative analysis of the data generated will likely lead to novel insights in understanding early heart tube regionalization and morphogenesis in the near future. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Kinking and Torsion Can Significantly Improve the Efficiency of Valveless Pumping in Periodically Compressed Tubular Conduits. Implications for Understanding of the Form-Function Relationship of Embryonic Heart Tubes
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 19; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040019 -
Abstract
Valveless pumping phenomena (peristalsis, Liebau-effect) can generate unidirectional fluid flow in periodically compressed tubular conduits. Early embryonic hearts are tubular conduits acting as valveless pumps. It is unclear whether such hearts work as peristaltic or Liebau-effect pumps. During the initial phase of its
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Valveless pumping phenomena (peristalsis, Liebau-effect) can generate unidirectional fluid flow in periodically compressed tubular conduits. Early embryonic hearts are tubular conduits acting as valveless pumps. It is unclear whether such hearts work as peristaltic or Liebau-effect pumps. During the initial phase of its pumping activity, the originally straight embryonic heart is subjected to deforming forces that produce bending, twisting, kinking, and coiling. This deformation process is called cardiac looping. Its function is traditionally seen as generating a configuration needed for establishment of correct alignments of pulmonary and systemic flow pathways in the mature heart of lung-breathing vertebrates. This idea conflicts with the fact that cardiac looping occurs in all vertebrates, including gill-breathing fishes. We speculate that looping morphogenesis may improve the efficiency of valveless pumping. To test the physical plausibility of this hypothesis, we analyzed the pumping performance of a Liebau-effect pump in straight and looped (kinked) configurations. Compared to the straight configuration, the looped configuration significantly improved the pumping performance of our pump. This shows that looping can improve the efficiency of valveless pumping driven by the Liebau-effect. Further studies are needed to clarify whether this finding may have implications for understanding of the form-function relationship of embryonic hearts. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
The Dark Side of the Moon: The Right Ventricle
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 18; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040018 -
Abstract
The aim of this review article is to summarize current knowledge of the pathophysiology underlying right ventricular failure (RVF), focusing, in particular, on right ventricular assessment and prognosis. The right ventricle (RV) can tolerate volume overload well, but is not able to sustain
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The aim of this review article is to summarize current knowledge of the pathophysiology underlying right ventricular failure (RVF), focusing, in particular, on right ventricular assessment and prognosis. The right ventricle (RV) can tolerate volume overload well, but is not able to sustain pressure overload. Right ventricular hypertrophy (RVH), as a response to increased afterload, can be adaptive or maladaptive. The easiest and most common way to assess the RV is by two-dimensional (2D) trans-thoracic echocardiography measuring surrogate indexes, such as tricuspid annular plane systolic excursion (TAPSE), fractional area change (FAC), and tissue Doppler velocity of the lateral aspect of the tricuspid valvular plane. However, both volumes and function are better estimated by 3D echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR). The prognostic role of the RV in heart failure (HF), pulmonary hypertension (PH), acute myocardial infarction (AMI), and cardiac surgery has been overlooked for many years. However, several recent studies have placed much greater importance on the RV in prognostic assessments. In conclusion, RV dimensions and function should be routinely assessed in cardiovascular disease, as RVF has a significant impact on disease prognosis. In the presence of RVF, different therapeutic approaches, either pharmacological or surgical, may be beneficial. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Multiple Roles of Pitx2 in Cardiac Development and Disease
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 16; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040016 -
Abstract
Cardiac development is a complex morphogenetic process initiated as bilateral cardiogenic mesoderm is specified at both sides of the gastrulating embryo. Soon thereafter, these cardiogenic cells fuse at the embryonic midline configuring a symmetrical linear cardiac tube. Left/right bilateral asymmetry is first detected
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Cardiac development is a complex morphogenetic process initiated as bilateral cardiogenic mesoderm is specified at both sides of the gastrulating embryo. Soon thereafter, these cardiogenic cells fuse at the embryonic midline configuring a symmetrical linear cardiac tube. Left/right bilateral asymmetry is first detected in the forming heart as the cardiac tube bends to the right, and subsequently, atrial and ventricular chambers develop. Molecular signals emanating from the node confer distinct left/right signalling pathways that ultimately lead to activation of the homeobox transcription factor Pitx2 in the left side of distinct embryonic organ anlagen, including the developing heart. Asymmetric expression of Pitx2 has therefore been reported during different cardiac developmental stages, and genetic deletion of Pitx2 provided evidence of key regulatory roles of this transcription factor during cardiogenesis and thus congenital heart diseases. More recently, impaired Pitx2 function has also been linked to arrhythmogenic processes, providing novel roles in the adult heart. In this manuscript, we provide a state-of-the-art review of the fundamental roles of Pitx2 during cardiogenesis, arrhythmogenesis and its contribution to congenital heart diseases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Strategy for Identification of Phosphorylation Levels of Low Abundance Proteins in Vivo for Which Antibodies Are not Available
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(4), 17; doi:10.3390/jcdd4040017 -
Abstract
Protein function is mainly modulated by dynamic reversible or irreversible post-translational modifications. Among them, the identification of protein phosphorylation sites and changes in phosphorylation levels in vivo are of considerable interest for a better understanding of the protein function. Thus, effective strategies for
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Protein function is mainly modulated by dynamic reversible or irreversible post-translational modifications. Among them, the identification of protein phosphorylation sites and changes in phosphorylation levels in vivo are of considerable interest for a better understanding of the protein function. Thus, effective strategies for the quantitative determination of phosphorylation degrees for low abundant proteins, for which antibodies are not available, are required in order to evaluate the functional regulation of proteins attributed to phosphorylation. In this study, we used the heart β1-adrenergic receptor (Adrb1) as a model protein and developed FLAG-Adrb1 knock-in mice, in which the FLAG tag was inserted at the N-terminus of Adrb1. The phosphorylation sites and levels of Adrb1 in the heart were elucidated by immuno-affinity purification followed by quantitative mass spectrometry analysis using ion intensity ratio of the phosphorylated peptide versus corresponding unphosphorylated peptide. The phosphorylation levels at Ser274 and Ser462 of Adrb1 were approximately 0.25 and 0.0023. This effective strategy should be useful for not only analyzing site-specific phosphorylation levels of target proteins, but also quantifying the expression levels of proteins of interest when appropriate antibodies are not available. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Establishing the Embryonic Axes: Prime Time for Teratogenic Insults
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(3), 15; doi:10.3390/jcdd4030015 -
Abstract
A long standing axiom in the field of teratology states that the teratogenic period, when most birth defects are produced, occurs during the third to eighth weeks of development post-fertilization. Any insults prior to this time are thought to result in a slowing
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A long standing axiom in the field of teratology states that the teratogenic period, when most birth defects are produced, occurs during the third to eighth weeks of development post-fertilization. Any insults prior to this time are thought to result in a slowing of embryonic growth from which the conceptus recovers or death of the embryo followed by spontaneous abortion. However, new insights into embryonic development during the first two weeks, including formation of the anterior-posterior, dorsal-ventral, and left-right axes, suggests that signaling pathways regulating these processes are prime targets for genetic and toxic insults. Establishment of the left-right (laterality) axis is particularly sensitive to disruption at very early stages of development and these perturbations result in a wide variety of congenital malformations, especially heart defects. Thus, the time for teratogenic insults resulting in birth defects should be reset to include the first two weeks of development. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Dystrophic Cardiomyopathy: Complex Pathobiological Processes to Generate Clinical Phenotype
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(3), 14; doi:10.3390/jcdd4030014 -
Abstract
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), and X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy (XL-DCM) consist of a unique clinical entity, the dystrophinopathies, which are due to variable mutations in the dystrophin gene. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a common complication of dystrophinopathies, but the onset,
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Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), and X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy (XL-DCM) consist of a unique clinical entity, the dystrophinopathies, which are due to variable mutations in the dystrophin gene. Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a common complication of dystrophinopathies, but the onset, progression, and severity of heart disease differ among these subgroups. Extensive molecular genetic studies have been conducted to assess genotype-phenotype correlation in DMD, BMD, and XL-DCM to understand the underlying mechanisms of these diseases, but the results are not always conclusive, suggesting the involvement of complex multi-layers of pathological processes that generate the final clinical phenotype. Dystrophin protein is a part of dystrophin-glycoprotein complex (DGC) that is localized in skeletal muscles, myocardium, smooth muscles, and neuronal tissues. Diversity of cardiac phenotype in dystrophinopathies suggests multiple layers of pathogenetic mechanisms in forming dystrophic cardiomyopathy. In this review article, we review the complex molecular interactions involving the pathogenesis of dystrophic cardiomyopathy, including primary gene mutations and loss of structural integrity, secondary cellular responses, and certain epigenetic and other factors that modulate gene expressions. Involvement of epigenetic gene regulation appears to lead to specific cardiac phenotypes in dystrophic hearts. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Midkine’s Role in Cardiac Pathology
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(3), 13; doi:10.3390/jcdd4030013 -
Abstract
Midkine (MDK) is a heparin-binding growth factor that is normally expressed in mid-gestational development mediating mesenchymal and epithelial interactions. As organisms age, expression of MDK diminishes; however, in adults, MDK expression is associated with acute and chronic pathologic conditions such as myocardial infarction
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Midkine (MDK) is a heparin-binding growth factor that is normally expressed in mid-gestational development mediating mesenchymal and epithelial interactions. As organisms age, expression of MDK diminishes; however, in adults, MDK expression is associated with acute and chronic pathologic conditions such as myocardial infarction and heart failure (HF). The role of MDK is not clear in cardiovascular disease and currently there is no consensus if it plays a beneficial or detrimental role in HF. The lack of clarity in the literature is exacerbated by differing roles that circulating and myocardial MDK play in signaling pathways in cardiomyocytes (some of which have yet to be elucidated). Of particular interest, serum MDK is elevated in adults with chronic heart failure and higher circulating MDK is associated with worse cardiac function. In addition, pediatric HF patients have higher levels of myocardial MDK. This review focuses on what is known about the effect of exogenous versus myocardial MDK in various cardiac disease models in an effort to better clarify the role of midkine in HF. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Insights from Second-Line Treatments for Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(3), 12; doi:10.3390/jcdd4030012 -
Abstract
Background: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is an independent nosographic entity characterized by left ventricular dilatation and contractile dysfunction leading to heart failure (HF). The idiopathic form of DCM (iDCM) occurs in the absence of coronaropathy or other known causes of DCM. Despite being different
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Background: Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is an independent nosographic entity characterized by left ventricular dilatation and contractile dysfunction leading to heart failure (HF). The idiopathic form of DCM (iDCM) occurs in the absence of coronaropathy or other known causes of DCM. Despite being different from other forms of HF for demographic, clinical, and prognostic features, its current pharmacological treatment does not significantly diverge. Methods: In this study we performed a Pubmed library search for placebo-controlled clinical investigations and a post-hoc analysis recruiting iDCM from 1985 to 2016. We searched for second-line pharmacologic treatments to reconsider drugs for iDCM management and pinpoint pathological mechanisms. Results: We found 33 clinical studies recruiting a total of 3392 patients of various durations and sizes, as well as studies that tested different drug classes (statins, pentoxifylline, inotropes). A metanalysis was unfeasible, although a statistical significance for changes upon treatment for molecular results, morphofunctional parameters, and clinical endpoints was reported. Statins appeared to be beneficial in light of their pleiotropic effects; inotropes might be tolerated more for longer times in iDCM compared to ischemic patients. General anti-inflammatory therapies do not significantly improve outcomes. Metabolic and growth modulation remain appealing fields to be investigated. Conclusions: The evaluation of drug effectiveness based on direct clinical benefit is an inductive method providing evidence-based insights. This backward approach sheds light on putative and underestimated pathologic mechanisms and thus therapeutic targets for iDCM management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Diagnostic Yield of Whole Exome Sequencing in Pediatric Dilated Cardiomyopathy
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(3), 11; doi:10.3390/jcdd4030011 -
Abstract
Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heritable, genetically heterogeneous disorder characterized by progressive heart failure. DCM typically remains clinically silent until adulthood, yet symptomatic disease can develop in childhood. We sought to identify the genetic basis of pediatric DCM in 15 sporadic and three
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Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a heritable, genetically heterogeneous disorder characterized by progressive heart failure. DCM typically remains clinically silent until adulthood, yet symptomatic disease can develop in childhood. We sought to identify the genetic basis of pediatric DCM in 15 sporadic and three affected-siblings cases, comprised of 21 affected children (mean age, five years) whose parents had normal echocardiograms (mean age, 39 years). Twelve underwent cardiac transplantation and five died with severe heart failure. Parent-offspring whole exome sequencing (WES) data were filtered for rare, deleterious, de novo and recessive variants. In prior work, we reported de novo mutations in TNNT2 and RRAGC and compound heterozygous mutations in ALMS1 and TAF1A among four cases in our cohort. Here, de novo mutations in established DCM genes—RBM20, LMNA, TNNT2, and PRDM16—were identified among five additional cases. The RBM20 mutation was previously reported in familial DCM. An identical unreported LMNA mutation was identified in two unrelated cases, both harboring gene-specific defects in cardiomyocyte nuclear morphology. Collectively, WES had a 50% diagnostic yield in our cohort, providing an explanation for pediatric heart failure and enabling informed family planning. Research is ongoing to discover novel DCM genes among the remaining families. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication
Phosphodiesterases 3 and 4 Differentially Regulate the Funny Current, If, in Mouse Sinoatrial Node Myocytes
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(3), 10; doi:10.3390/jcdd4030010 -
Abstract
Cardiac pacemaking, at rest and during the sympathetic fight-or-flight response, depends on cAMP (3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate) signaling in sinoatrial node myocytes (SAMs). The cardiac “funny current” (If) is among the cAMP-sensitive effectors that drive pacemaking in SAMs. If is produced
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Cardiac pacemaking, at rest and during the sympathetic fight-or-flight response, depends on cAMP (3′,5′-cyclic adenosine monophosphate) signaling in sinoatrial node myocytes (SAMs). The cardiac “funny current” (If) is among the cAMP-sensitive effectors that drive pacemaking in SAMs. If is produced by hyperpolarization-activated, cyclic nucleotide-sensitive (HCN) channels. Voltage-dependent gating of HCN channels is potentiated by cAMP, which acts either by binding directly to the channels or by activating the cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA), which phosphorylates them. PKA activity is required for signaling between β adrenergic receptors (βARs) and HCN channels in SAMs but the mechanism that constrains cAMP signaling to a PKA-dependent pathway is unknown. Phosphodiesterases (PDEs) hydrolyze cAMP and form cAMP signaling domains in other types of cardiomyocytes. Here we examine the role of PDEs in regulation of If in SAMs. If was recorded in whole-cell voltage-clamp experiments from acutely-isolated mouse SAMs in the absence or presence of PDE and PKA inhibitors, and before and after βAR stimulation. General PDE inhibition caused a PKA-independent depolarizing shift in the midpoint activation voltage (V1/2) of If at rest and removed the requirement for PKA in βAR-to-HCN signaling. PDE4 inhibition produced a similar PKA-independent depolarizing shift in the V1/2 of If at rest, but did not remove the requirement for PKA in βAR-to-HCN signaling. PDE3 inhibition produced PKA-dependent changes in If both at rest and in response to βAR stimulation. Our results suggest that PDE3 and PDE4 isoforms create distinct cAMP signaling domains that differentially constrain access of cAMP to HCN channels and establish the requirement for PKA in signaling between βARs and HCN channels in SAMs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Multiparametric Approach Based on NT-proBNP, ST2, and Galectin3 for Stratifying One Year Prognosis of Chronic Heart Failure Outpatients
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(3), 0009; doi:10.3390/jcdd4030009 -
Abstract
Galectin-3 and ST2 are emerging biomarkers involved in myocardial fibrosis. We evaluate the relevance of a multiparametric biomarker approach based on increased serum levels of NT-proBNP, galectin-3, and ST2 in stratifying the prognosis of chronic heart failure (CHF) outpatients. In 315 CHF outpatients
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Galectin-3 and ST2 are emerging biomarkers involved in myocardial fibrosis. We evaluate the relevance of a multiparametric biomarker approach based on increased serum levels of NT-proBNP, galectin-3, and ST2 in stratifying the prognosis of chronic heart failure (CHF) outpatients. In 315 CHF outpatients in stable clinical condition clinical and echocardiographic evaluations were performed. Routine chemistry and serum levels of NT-proBNP, galectin-3, and ST2 were also assessed. During a 12 month follow-up, cardiovascular death, and/or heart failure (HF) occurred in 64 patients. The presence of NT-proBNP, galectin-3, and ST2 were higher than the recommended cutoffs and were all associated with events at univariate Cox regression analysis, as well as in a multivariate analysis including the three biomarkers. When a score based on the number of biomarkers above the recommended cut-offs was used (in a range of 0–3), it was associated with events both with respect to the univariate (HR 2.96, 95% CI 2.21–3.95, p < 0.001, C-index 0.78) and the multivariate (HR 1.52, 95% CI 1.06–2.17, p: 0.023, C-index 0.87) analyses, after correction for the variables of a reference model. Our results suggest that an easy prognostic approach based on the combination of three biomarkers, although with partially-overlapping pathophysiological mechanisms, is able to identify patients with the highest risk of heart failure progression. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Multiple Species Comparison of Cardiac Troponin T and Dystrophin: Unravelling the DNA behind Dilated Cardiomyopathy
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(3), 8; doi:10.3390/jcdd4030008 -
Abstract
Animals have frequently been used as models for human disorders and mutations. Following advances in genetic testing and treatment options, and the decreasing cost of these technologies in the clinic, mutations in both companion and commercial animals are now being investigated. A recent
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Animals have frequently been used as models for human disorders and mutations. Following advances in genetic testing and treatment options, and the decreasing cost of these technologies in the clinic, mutations in both companion and commercial animals are now being investigated. A recent review highlighted the genes associated with both human and non-human dilated cardiomyopathy. Cardiac troponin T and dystrophin were observed to be associated with both human and turkey (troponin T) and canine (dystrophin) dilated cardiomyopathies. This review gives an overview of the work carried out in cardiac troponin T and dystrophin to date in both human and animal dilated cardiomyopathy. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
Development and Function of the Cardiac Conduction System in Health and Disease
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(2), 7; doi:10.3390/jcdd4020007 -
Abstract
The generation and propagation of the cardiac impulse is the central function of the cardiac conduction system (CCS). Impulse initiation occurs in nodal tissues that have high levels of automaticity, but slow conduction properties. Rapid impulse propagation is a feature of the ventricular
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The generation and propagation of the cardiac impulse is the central function of the cardiac conduction system (CCS). Impulse initiation occurs in nodal tissues that have high levels of automaticity, but slow conduction properties. Rapid impulse propagation is a feature of the ventricular conduction system, which is essential for synchronized contraction of the ventricular chambers. When functioning properly, the CCS produces ~2.4 billion heartbeats during a human lifetime and orchestrates the flow of cardiac impulses, designed to maximize cardiac output. Abnormal impulse initiation or propagation can result in brady- and tachy-arrhythmias, producing an array of symptoms, including syncope, heart failure or sudden cardiac death. Underlying the functional diversity of the CCS are gene regulatory networks that direct cell fate towards a nodal or a fast conduction gene program. In this review, we will discuss our current understanding of the transcriptional networks that dictate the components of the CCS, the growth factor-dependent signaling pathways that orchestrate some of these transcriptional hierarchies and the effect of aberrant transcription factor expression on mammalian conduction disease. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Breast Cancer Clinical Trial of Chemotherapy and Trastuzumab: Potential Tool to Identify Cardiac Modifying Variants of Dilated Cardiomyopathy
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(2), 6; doi:10.3390/jcdd4020006 -
Abstract
Doxorubicin and the ERBB2 targeted therapy, trastuzumab, are routinely used in the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer. In mouse models, doxorubicin is known to cause cardiomyopathy and conditional cardiac knock out of Erbb2 results in dilated cardiomyopathy and increased sensitivity to doxorubicin-induced cell
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Doxorubicin and the ERBB2 targeted therapy, trastuzumab, are routinely used in the treatment of HER2+ breast cancer. In mouse models, doxorubicin is known to cause cardiomyopathy and conditional cardiac knock out of Erbb2 results in dilated cardiomyopathy and increased sensitivity to doxorubicin-induced cell death. In humans, these drugs also result in cardiac phenotypes, but severity and reversibility is highly variable. We examined the association of decline in left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) at 15,204 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) spanning 72 cardiomyopathy genes, in 800 breast cancer patients who received doxorubicin and trastuzumab. For 7033 common SNPs (minor allele frequency (MAF) > 0.01) we performed single marker linear regression. For all SNPs, we performed gene-based testing with SNP-set (Sequence) Kernel Association Tests: SKAT, SKAT-O and SKAT-common/rare under rare variant non-burden; rare variant optimized burden and non-burden tests; and a combination of rare and common variants respectively. Single marker analyses identified seven missense variants in OBSCN (p = 0.0045–0.0009, MAF = 0.18–0.50) and two in TTN (both p = 0.04, MAF = 0.22). Gene-based rare variant analyses, SKAT and SKAT-O, performed very similarly (ILK, TCAP, DSC2, VCL, FXN, DSP and KCNQ1, p = 0.042–0.006). Gene-based tests of rare/common variants were significant at the nominal 5% level for OBSCN as well as TCAP, DSC2, VCL, NEXN, KCNJ2 and DMD (p = 0.044–0.008). Our results suggest that rare and common variants in OBSCN, as well as in other genes, could have modifying effects in cardiomyopathy. Full article
Open AccessReview
Lineages of the Cardiac Conduction System
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(2), 5; doi:10.3390/jcdd4020005 -
Abstract
The cardiac conduction system (CCS) initiates and coordinately propagates the electrical impulse to orchestrate the heartbeat. It consists of a set of interconnected components with shared properties. A better understanding of the origin and specification of CCS lineages has allowed us to better
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The cardiac conduction system (CCS) initiates and coordinately propagates the electrical impulse to orchestrate the heartbeat. It consists of a set of interconnected components with shared properties. A better understanding of the origin and specification of CCS lineages has allowed us to better comprehend the etiology of CCS disease and has provided leads for development of therapies. A variety of technologies and approaches have been used to investigate CCS lineages, which will be summarized in this review. The findings imply that there is not a single CCS lineage. In contrast, early cell fate decisions segregate the lineages of the CCS components while they remain connected to each other. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperReview
On the Evolution of the Cardiac Pacemaker
J. Cardiovasc. Dev. Dis. 2017, 4(2), 4; doi:10.3390/jcdd4020004 -
Abstract
The rhythmic contraction of the heart is initiated and controlled by an intrinsic pacemaker system. Cardiac contractions commence at very early embryonic stages and coordination remains crucial for survival. The underlying molecular mechanisms of pacemaker cell development and function are still not fully
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The rhythmic contraction of the heart is initiated and controlled by an intrinsic pacemaker system. Cardiac contractions commence at very early embryonic stages and coordination remains crucial for survival. The underlying molecular mechanisms of pacemaker cell development and function are still not fully understood. Heart form and function show high evolutionary conservation. Even in simple contractile cardiac tubes in primitive invertebrates, cardiac function is controlled by intrinsic, autonomous pacemaker cells. Understanding the evolutionary origin and development of cardiac pacemaker cells will help us outline the important pathways and factors involved. Key patterning factors, such as the homeodomain transcription factors Nkx2.5 and Shox2, and the LIM-homeodomain transcription factor Islet-1, components of the T-box (Tbx), and bone morphogenic protein (Bmp) families are well conserved. Here we compare the dominant pacemaking systems in various organisms with respect to the underlying molecular regulation. Comparative analysis of the pathways involved in patterning the pacemaker domain in an evolutionary context might help us outline a common fundamental pacemaker cell gene programme. Special focus is given to pacemaker development in zebrafish, an extensively used model for vertebrate development. Finally, we conclude with a summary of highly conserved key factors in pacemaker cell development and function. Full article
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