Abstract 791: A Critical Role for Bmper (BMP-binding Endothelial cell precursor-derived Regulator) in Cardiac Muscle Mass Regulation during Development and Pressure Overload Induced Hypertrophy
Bone morphogenetic proteins (BMPs) of the TGF-beta superfamily, have been implicated in multiple processes during cardiac development. Our laboratory recently described an unprecedented role for Bmper in antagonizing BMP-2, BMP-4, and BMP-6. To determine the role of Bmper on cardiac development in vivo, we created Bmper null (Bmper −/−) mice by replacing exons 1 and 2 with GFP. Since Bmper −/− mice are perinatally lethal, we determined pre-natal cardiac function of Bmper −/− mice in utero just before birth. By echocardiography, E18.5 Bmper −/− embryos had decreased cardiac function (24.2 +/− 8.1% fractional shortening) compared to Bmper +/− and Bmper +/+ siblings (52.2 +/− 1.6% fractional shortening) (N=4/group). To further characterize the role of Bmper on cardiac function in adult mice, we performed echocardiography on 8-week old male and female Bmper +/− and littermate control Bmper +/+. Bmper +/− mice had an approximately 15% decrease in anterior and posterior wall thickness compared to sibling Bmper +/+ mice at baseline (n=10/group). Cross-sectional areas of Bmper +/− cardiomyocytes were approximately 20% less than wild type controls, indicating cardiomyocyte hypoplasia in adult Bmper +/− mice at baseline. Histologically, no significant differences were identified in representative H&E and trichrome stained adult Bmper +/− and Bmper +/+ cardiac sections at baseline. To determine the effects of Bmper expression on the development of cardiac hypertrophy, both Bmper +/− and Bmper +/+ sibling controls underwent transaortic constriction (TAC), followed by weekly echocardiography. While a deficit was identified in Bmper +/− mice at baseline, both anterior and posterior wall thicknesses increased after TAC, such that identical wall thicknesses were identified in Bmper +/− and Bmper +/+ mice 1–4 weeks after TAC. Notably, cardiac function (fractional shortening %) and histological evaluation revealed no differences between Bmper +/− and Bmper +/+ any time after TAC. These studies identify for the first time that Bmper expression plays a critical role in regulating cardiac muscle mass during development, and that Bmper regulates the development of hypertrophy in response to pressure overload in vivo.