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Free access

Amanda J Rickard and Morag J Young

The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) and glucocorticoid receptor are ligand-activated transcription factors that have important physiological and pathophysiological actions in a broad range of cell types including monocytes and macrophages. While the glucocorticoids cortisol and corticosterone have well-described anti-inflammatory actions on both recruited and tissue resident macrophages, a role for the mineralocorticoid aldosterone in these cells is largely undefined. Emerging evidence, however, suggests that MR signalling may promote pro-inflammatory effects. This review will discuss the current understanding of the role of corticosteroid receptors in macrophages and their effect on diseases involving inflammation, with a particular focus on cardiovascular disease.

Free access

Rebecca H Ritchie, Eser J Zerenturk, Darnel Prakoso and Anna C Calkin

Diabetic cardiomyopathy was first defined over four decades ago. It was observed in small post-mortem studies of diabetic patients who suffered from concomitant heart failure despite the absence of hypertension, coronary disease or other likely causal factors, as well as in large population studies such as the Framingham Heart Study. Subsequent studies continue to demonstrate an increased incidence of heart failure in the setting of diabetes independent of established risk factors, suggesting direct effects of diabetes on the myocardium. Impairments in glucose metabolism and handling receive the majority of the blame. The role of concomitant impairments in lipid handling, particularly at the level of the myocardium, has however received much less attention. Cardiac lipid accumulation commonly occurs in the setting of type 2 diabetes and has been suggested to play a direct causal role in the development of cardiomyopathy and heart failure in a process termed as cardiac lipotoxicity. Excess lipids promote numerous pathological processes linked to the development of cardiomyopathy, including mitochondrial dysfunction and inflammation. Although somewhat underappreciated, cardiac lipotoxicity also occurs in the setting of type 1 diabetes. This phenomenon is, however, largely understudied in comparison to hyperglycaemia, which has been widely studied in this context. The current review addresses the changes in lipid metabolism occurring in the type 1 diabetic heart and how they are implicated in disease progression. Furthermore, the pathological pathways linked to cardiac lipotoxicity are discussed. Finally, we consider novel approaches for modulating lipid metabolism as a cardioprotective mechanism against cardiomyopathy and heart failure.

Free access

Lichun Zhou, Baohua Ma and Xiuzhen Han

Pathological cardiac hypertrophy is associated with nearly all forms of heart failure. It develops in response to disorders such as coronary artery disease, hypertension and myocardial infarction. Angiotensin II (Ang II) has direct effects on the myocardium and promotes hypertension. Chronic elevation of Ang II can lead to pathological cardiac hypertrophy and cardiac failure. Autophagy is an important process in the pathogenesis of cardiovascular diseases. Under physiological conditions, autophagy is an essential homeostatic mechanism to maintain the global cardiac structure function by ridding damaged cells or unwanted macromolecules and organelles. Dysregulation of autophagy may play an important role in Ang II-induced cardiac hypertrophy although conflicting reports on the effects of Ang II on autophagy and cardiac hypertrophy exist. Some studies showed that autophagy activation attenuated Ang II-induced cardiac dysfunction. Others suggested that inhibition of the Ang II induced autophagy should be protective. The discrepancies may be due to different model systems and different signaling pathway involved. Ang II-induced cardiac hypertrophy may be alleviated through regulation of autophagy. This review focuses on Ang II to highlight the molecular targets and pathways identified in the prevention and treatment of Ang II-induced pathological cardiac hypertrophy by regulating autophagy.

Open access

Gillian A Gray, Christopher I White, Raphael F P Castellan, Sara J McSweeney and Karen E Chapman

Corticosteroids influence the development and function of the heart and its response to injury and pressure overload via actions on glucocorticoid (GR) and mineralocorticoid (MR) receptors. Systemic corticosteroid concentration depends largely on the activity of the hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal (HPA) axis, but glucocorticoid can also be regenerated from intrinsically inert metabolites by the enzyme 11β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 1 (11β-HSD1), selectively increasing glucocorticoid levels within cells and tissues. Extensive studies have revealed the roles for glucocorticoid regeneration by 11β-HSD1 in liver, adipose, brain and other tissues, but until recently, there has been little focus on the heart. This article reviews the evidence for glucocorticoid metabolism by 11β-HSD1 in the heart and for a role of 11β-HSD1 activity in determining the myocardial growth and physiological function. We also consider the potential of 11β-HSD1 as a therapeutic target to enhance repair after myocardial infarction and to prevent the development of cardiac remodelling and heart failure.

Free access

Keiichi Ikeda, Katsuyoshi Tojo, Yuri Inada, Yuko Takada, Masaya Sakamoto, May Lam, William C Claycomb and Naoko Tajima

Despite our knowledge on the regulation of urocortin (Ucn) I and its related peptides in the heart, the possible involvement of cardiovascular stress substances, such as cytokines or angiotensin II (Ang II), on this regulation remains to be fully elucidated. We therefore evaluated the potential role of cardiovascular stress substances on the regulation of the Ucn–corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) receptor system in HL-1 cardiomyocytes using a Ucn I-specific RIA, conventional reverse transcription-PCR (RT-PCR) and quantitative real-time RT-PCR. Ucn I mRNA levels were shown to be up-regulated by lipopolysaccarides (LPS), tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α), Ang II, H2O2, and pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (PDTC). The LPS- and Ang II-induced increase in Ucn I mRNA levels was abolished by tempol. In addition, the secretion of Ucn I from HL-1 cardiomyocytes was stimulated by LPS and TNF-α. On the contrary, Ucn II mRNA was increased by TNF-α alone and Ang II with tempol, and the TNF-α-induced increase in Ucn II mRNA was abolished by erythromycin and PDTC. These results suggested that Ucn I mRNA may be up-regulated by oxidative stress, whereas Ucn II mRNA may be up-regulated by the activated nuclear factor-κB, i.e. inflammatory stress. CRH-R2 mRNA may be negatively regulated by the increase in expression of Ucn I and/or Ucn II mRNA. In conclusion, the Ucn–CRH receptor system may be regulated by two major forms of cardiac stresses, i.e. oxidative and inflammatory stress, and may play a critical role in cardiac stress adaptation in heart diseases.

Free access

Jun Yang, Peter J Fuller, James Morgan, Hirotaka Shibata, Colin D Clyne and Morag J Young

The mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily. Pathological activation of the MR causes cardiac fibrosis and heart failure, but clinical use of MR antagonists is limited by the renal side effect of hyperkalemia. Coregulator proteins are known to be critical for nuclear receptor-mediated gene expression. Identification of coregulators, which mediate MR activity in a tissue-specific manner, may allow for the development of novel tissue-selective MR modulators that confer cardiac protection without adverse renal effects. Our earlier studies identified a consensus motif among MR-interacting peptides, MPxLxxLL. Gem (nuclear organelle)-associated protein 4 (GEMIN4) is one of the proteins that contain this motif. Transient transfection experiments in HEK293 and H9c2 cells demonstrated that GEMIN4 repressed agonist-induced MR transactivation in a cell-specific manner. Furthermore, overexpression of GEMIN4 significantly decreased, while knockdown of GEMIN4 increased, the mRNA expression of specific endogenous MR target genes. A physical interaction between GEMIN4 and MR is suggested by their nuclear co-localization upon agonist treatment. These findings indicate that GEMIN4 functions as a novel coregulator of the MR.

Free access

Aurelie Nguyen Dinh Cat, Malou Friederich-Persson, Anna White and Rhian M Touyz

Understanding the mechanisms linking obesity with hypertension is important in the current obesity epidemic as it may improve therapeutic interventions. Plasma aldosterone levels are positively correlated with body mass index and weight loss in obese patients is reported to be accompanied by decreased aldosterone levels. This suggests a relationship between adipose tissue and the production/secretion of aldosterone. Aldosterone is synthesized principally by the adrenal glands, but its production may be regulated by many factors, including factors secreted by adipocytes. In addition, studies have reported local synthesis of aldosterone in extra-adrenal tissues, including adipose tissue. Experimental studies have highlighted a role for adipocyte-secreted aldosterone in the pathogenesis of obesity-related cardiovascular complications via the mineralocorticoid receptor. This review focuses on how aldosterone secretion may be influenced by adipose tissue and the importance of these mechanisms in the context of obesity-related hypertension.

Free access

Gabriela Placoná Diniz, Ana Paula Cremasco Takano, Erika Bruneto, Francemilson Goulart da Silva, Maria Tereza Nunes and Maria Luiza Morais Barreto-Chaves

The angiotensin II type 1 receptor (AT1R) is involved in the development of cardiac hypertrophy promoted by thyroid hormone. Recently, we demonstrated that triiodothyronine (T3) rapidly increases AT1R mRNA and protein levels in cardiomyocyte cultures. However, the molecular mechanisms responsible for these rapid events are not yet known. In this study, we investigated the T3 effect on AT1R mRNA polyadenylation in cultured cardiomyocytes as well as on the expression of microRNA-350 (miR-350), which targets AT1R mRNA. The transcriptional and translational actions mediated by T3 on AT1R levels were also assessed. The total content of ubiquitinated proteins in cardiomyocytes treated with T3 was investigated. Our data confirmed that T3 rapidly raised AT1R mRNA and protein levels, as assessed by real-time PCR and western blotting respectively. The use of inhibitors of mRNA and protein synthesis prevented the rapid increase in AT1R protein levels mediated by T3. In addition, T3 rapidly increased the poly-A tail length of the AT1R mRNA, as determined by rapid amplification of cDNA ends poly-A test, and decreased the content of ubiquitinated proteins in cardiomyocytes. On the other hand, T3 treatment increased miR-350 expression. In parallel with its transcriptional and translational effects on the AT1R, T3 exerted a rapid posttranscriptional action on AT1R mRNA polyadenylation, which might be contributing to increase transcript stability, as well as on translational efficiency, resulting to the rapid increase in AT1R mRNA expression and protein levels. Finally, these results show, for the first time, that T3 rapidly triggers distinct mechanisms, which might contribute to the regulation of AT1R levels in cardiomyocytes.

Free access

Thalijn Liliana Catharina Wolters, Mihai Gheorghe Netea, Adrianus Rudolfus Marinus Maria Hermus, Johannes Willem Adriaan Smit and Romana Teodora Netea-Maier

Acromegaly is characterized by growth hormone (GH) and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1) excess and is accompanied by an increased cardiovascular diseases (CVD) risk. As innate immune responses are crucial in CVD development, and IGF1 is linked to subclinical inflammation, we hypothesized that GH/IGF1 excess contributes to CVD development by potentiating systemic inflammation. We aimed to assess the effects of GH/IGF1 on inflammatory cytokine production. Whole blood from acromegaly patients and healthy volunteers and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy volunteers were stimulated with Toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands, with or without adding GH or IGF1 (in PBMC). Cytokine concentrations were measured by ELISA. The underlying signalling pathways were investigated by the inhibition of downstream targets of the IGF1 receptor. The following results were obtained. GH or IGF1 alone did not influence cytokine production in PBMCs. GH did not affect TLR-induced cytokine production, but co-stimulation with IGF1 dose dependently increased the TLR ligand-induced production of IL6 (P < 0.01), TNF alpha (P = 0.02) and IFNg (P < 0.01), as well as the production of the anti-inflammatory cytokine IL10 (P = 0.01). IGF1 had no effect on IL1B, IL17 and IL22 production. Inhibition of the MAPK pathway, but not mTOR, completely abrogated the synergistic effect of IGF1 on the LPS-induced IL6 and TNF alpha production. In whole blood of acromegaly patients, ex vivo IL6 production was increased (P < 0.01). In conclusion, IGF1, but not GH, has pro-inflammatory effects, probably via the MAPK signalling pathway and might be involved in the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis in acromegaly. The increased IL10 production possibly counteracts the pro-inflammatory effects.

Free access

He Jiang, Xiao-Ping Ye, Zhong-Yin Yang, Ming Zhan, Hai-Ning Wang, Huang-Min Cao, Hui-Jun Xie, Chun-Ming Pan, Huai-Dong Song and Shuang-Xia Zhao

There is a high incidence of metabolic syndrome among patients with primary aldosteronism (PA), which has recently been associated with an unfavorable cardiometabolic profile. However, the underlying mechanisms have not been clarified in detail. Characterizing aldosterone (Ald) target genes in adipocytes will help us to elucidate the deleterious effects associated with excess Ald. Apelin, a novel adipokine, exerts beneficial effects on obesity-associated disorders and cardiovascular homeostasis. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of high Ald levels on apelin expression and secretion and the underlying mechanisms involved in adipocytes. In vivo, a single-dose Ald injection acutely decreased apelin serum levels and adipose tissue apelin production, which demonstrates a clear inverse relationship between the levels of plasma Ald and plasma apelin. Experiments using 3T3-L1 adipocytes showed that Ald decreased apelin expression and secretion in a time- and dose-dependent manner. This effect was reversed by glucocorticoid receptor (GR) antagonists or GR (NR3C1) knockdown; furthermore, putative HREs were identified in the apelin promoter. Subsequently, we verified that both glucocorticoids and mineralocorticoids regulated apelin expression through GR activation, although no synergistic effect was observed. Additionally, detailed potential mechanisms involved a p38 MAPK signaling pathway. In conclusion, our findings strengthen the fact that there is a direct interaction between Ald and apelin in adipocytes, which has important implications for hyperaldosteronism or PA-associated cardiometabolic syndrome and hoists apelin on the list of potent therapeutic targets for PA.