Cardiac Fibroblast GSK-3β Regulates Ventricular Remodeling and Dysfunction in Ischemic Heart
Background—Myocardial infarction-induced remodeling includes chamber dilatation, contractile dysfunction, and fibrosis. Of these, fibrosis is the least understood. Following MI, activated cardiac fibroblasts (CFs) deposit extracellular matrix. Current therapies to prevent fibrosis are inadequate and new molecular targets are needed.
Methods and Results—Herein we report that GSK-3β is phosphorylated (inhibited) in fibrotic tissues from ischemic human and mouse heart. Using two fibroblast-specific GSK-3β knockout mouse models, we show that deletion of GSK-3β in CFs leads to fibrogenesis, left ventricular dysfunction and excessive scarring in the ischemic heart. Deletion of GSK-3β induces a pro-fibrotic myofibroblast phenotype in isolated CFs, in post-MI hearts, and in MEFs deleted for GSK-3β. Mechanistically, GSK-3β inhibits pro-fibrotic TGF-β1-SMAD-3 signaling via interactions with SMAD-3. Moreover, deletion of GSK-3β resulted in the suppression of SMAD-3 transcriptional activity. This pathway is central to the pathology since a small molecule inhibitor of SMAD-3 largely prevented fibrosis and limited LV remodeling.
Conclusions—These studies support targeting GSK-3β in myocardial fibrotic disorders and establish critical roles of CFs in remodeling and ventricular dysfunction.
- Received December 19, 2013.
- Revision received May 6, 2014.
- Accepted May 22, 2014.