Publications by authors named "Alexander Akhmedov"

77 Publications

ApoA-I mimetics improve aortic stenosis-associated left-ventricular diastolic dysfunction but fail to benefit rabbit models with normal aortic valves.

Int J Cardiol 2021 Feb 21. Epub 2021 Feb 21.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland; Royal Brompton and Harefield Hospitals and Imperial College, London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2021.02.044DOI Listing
February 2021

TNFα induces endothelial dysfunction in rheumatoid arthritis via LOX-1 and arginase 2: reversal by monoclonal TNFα antibodies.

Cardiovasc Res 2021 Jan 23. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, Switzerland.

Aims: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammatory disease affecting joints and blood vessels. Despite low levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), RA patients exhibit endothelial dysfunction and are at increased risk of death from cardiovascular (CV) complications, but the molecular mechanism of action is unknown.We aimed in the present study to identify the molecular mechanism of endothelial dysfunction in a mouse model of RA and in patients with RA.

Methods And Results: Endothelium-dependent relaxations to acetylcholine were reduced in aortae of two TNFα transgenic mouse lines with either mild (Tg3647) or severe (Tg197) forms of RA in a time- and severity-dependent fashion as assessed by organ chamber myograph. In Tg197, TNFα plasma levels were associated with severe endothelial dysfunction. LOX-1 receptor was markedly upregulated leading to increased vascular oxLDL uptake and NFκB-mediated enhanced Arg2 expression via direct binding to its promoter resulting in reduced NO bioavailability and vascular cGMP levels as shown by ELISA and chromatin immunoprecipitation. Anti-TNFα treatment with infliximab normalized endothelial function together with LOX-1 and Arg2 serum levels in mice. In RA patients, soluble LOX-1 serum levels were also markedly increased and closely related to serum levels of C-reactive protein. Similarly, ARG2 serum levels were increased. Similarly, anti-TNFα treatment restored LOX-1 and ARG2 serum levels in RA patients.

Conclusions: Increased TNFα levels not only contribute to RA, but also to endothelial dysfunction by increasing vascular oxLDL content and activation of the LOX-1/NFκB/Arg2 pathway leading to reduced NO bioavailability and decreased cGMP levels. Anti-TNFα treatment improved both articular symptoms and endothelial function by reducing LOX-1, vascular oxLDL and Arg2 levels.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvab005DOI Listing
January 2021

Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (LOX-1): a crucial driver of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease.

Eur Heart J 2020 Nov 7. Epub 2020 Nov 7.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Wagistreet 12, Schlieren 8952, Switzerland.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), specifically lipid-driven atherosclerotic CVDs, remain the number one cause of death worldwide. The lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL) receptor-1 (LOX-1), a scavenger receptor that promotes endothelial dysfunction by inducing pro-atherogenic signalling and plaque formation via the endothelial uptake of oxidized LDL (oxLDL) and electronegative LDL, contributes to the initiation, progression, and destabilization of atheromatous plaques, eventually leading to the development of myocardial infarction and certain forms of stroke. In addition to its expression in endothelial cells, LOX-1 is expressed in macrophages, cardiomyocytes, fibroblasts, dendritic cells, lymphocytes, and neutrophils, further implicating this receptor in multiple aspects of atherosclerotic plaque formation. LOX-1 holds promise as a novel diagnostic and therapeutic target for certain CVDs; therefore, understanding the molecular structure and function of LOX-1 is of critical importance. In this review, we highlight the latest scientific findings related to LOX-1, its ligands, and their roles in the broad spectrum of CVDs. We describe recent findings from basic research, delineate their translational value, and discuss the potential of LOX-1 as a novel target for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of related CVDs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehaa770DOI Listing
November 2020

Murine tissue factor disulfide mutation causes a bleeding phenotype with sex specific organ pathology and lethality.

Haematologica 2020 10 1;105(10):2484-2495. Epub 2020 Oct 1.

Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center, University Hospital, Zurich, Switzerland.

Tissue factor is highly expressed in sub-endothelial tissue. The extracellular allosteric disulfide bond Cys186-Cys209 of human tissue factor shows high evolutionary conservation and in vitro evidence suggests that it significantly contributes to tissue factor procoagulant activity. To investigate the role of this allosteric disulfide bond in vivo, we generated a C213G mutant tissue factor mouse by replacing Cys213 of the corresponding disulfide Cys190-Cys213 in murine tissue factor. A bleeding phenotype was prominent in homozygous C213G tissue factor mice. Pre-natal lethality of 1/3rd of homozygous offspring was observed between E9.5 and E14.5 associated with placental hemorrhages. After birth, homozygous mice suffered from bleedings in different organs and reduced survival. Homozygous C213G tissue factor male mice showed higher incidence of lung bleedings and lower survival rates than females. In both sexes, C213G mutation evoked a reduced protein expression (about 10-fold) and severely reduced pro-coagulant activity (about 1000-fold). Protein glycosylation was impaired and cell membrane exposure decreased in macrophages in vivo. Single housing of homozygous C213G tissue factor males reduced the occurrence of severe bleeding and significantly improved survival, suggesting that inter-male aggressiveness might significantly account for the sex differences. These experiments show that the tissue factor allosteric disulfide bond is of crucial importance for normal in vivo expression, post-translational processing and activity of murine tissue factor. Although C213G tissue factor mice do not display the severe embryonic lethality of tissue factor knock-out mice, their postnatal bleeding phenotype emphasizes the importance of fully functional tissue factor for hemostasis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3324/haematol.2019.218818DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7556672PMC
October 2020

Sirtuin 5 promotes arterial thrombosis by blunting the fibrinolytic system.

Cardiovasc Res 2020 Sep 15. Epub 2020 Sep 15.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, Schlieren, Switzerland.

Aims: Arterial thrombosis as a result of plaque rupture or erosion is a key event in acute cardiovascular events. Sirtuin 5 (SIRT5) belongs to the lifespan-regulating sirtuin superfamily and has been implicated in acute ischemic stroke and cardiac hypertrophy. This project aims at investigating the role of SIRT5 in arterial thrombus formation.

Methods And Results: Sirt5 transgenic (Sirt5Tg/0) as well as knock-out (Sirt5-/-) mice underwent photochemically-induced carotid endothelial injury to trigger arterial thrombosis. Primary human aortic endothelial cells (HAECs) treated with SIRT5 silencing-RNA (si-SIRT5) as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients and non-ACS controls (case-control study, total n = 171) were used to increase the translational relevance of our data. Compared to WT controls, Sirt5Tg/0 mice displayed accelerated arterial thrombus formation following endothelial-specific damage. Conversely, in Sirt5-/-mice arterial thrombosis was blunted. Platelet function was unaltered, as assessed by ex vivo collagen-induced aggregometry. Similarly, activation of the coagulation cascade as assessed by vascular and plasma tissue factor (TF) and TF pathway inhibitor (TFPI) expression was unaltered. Increased thrombus embolization episodes and circulating D-dimer levels suggested augmented activation of the fibrinolytic system in Sirt5-/- mice. Accordingly, Sirt5-/- mice showed reduced plasma and vascular expression of the fibrinolysis inhibitor plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1. In HAECs, SIRT5-silencing inhibited PAI-1 gene and protein expression in response to TNF-α. This effect was mediated by increased AMPK activation and reduced phosphorylation of the MAP kinase ERK 1/2, but not JNK and p38 as shown both in vivo and in vitro. Lastly, both PAI-1 and SIRT5 gene expression are increased in ACS patients compared to non-ACS controls after adjustment for cardiovascular risk factors, while PAI-1 expression increased across tertiles of SIRT5.

Conclusions: SIRT5 promotes arterial thrombosis by modulating fibrinolysis through endothelial PAI-1 expression. Hence, SIRT5 may be an interesting therapeutic target in the context of atherothrombotic events.

Translational Perspectives: This study illustrates a novel role for Sirtuin 5 in arterial thrombosis by regulating fibrinolysis through plasminogen activator inhibitor 1 (PAI-1). These results shed new light onto the pathophysiology of arterial thrombus formation which underlies most of the acute atherosclerotic complications. Also, they further affirm the intrinsic relationship between lifespan regulating genes, vascular dysfunction and age-related cardiovascular disease, thus indicating these genes as potential targets for cardiovascular prevention and therapy. Further studies will be needed to assess the predictive ability of SIRT5 in patients with acute cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events. Also, the design of specific SIRT5 inhibitors will allow trials aiming at investigating the efficacy of SIRT5 blockage in the clinical setting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvaa268DOI Listing
September 2020

Hyperglycemia Induces Myocardial Dysfunction via Epigenetic Regulation of JunD.

Circ Res 2020 Oct 20;127(10):1261-1273. Epub 2020 Aug 20.

Cardiology Unit, Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institutet and Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden (S.H., A.W.K., R.S., C.H., C.G., J.P., L.H.L., F.C.).

Rationale: Hyperglycemia -induced reactive oxygen species are key mediators of cardiac dysfunction. JunD (Jund proto-oncogene subunit), a member of the AP-1 (activator protein-1) family of transcription factors, is emerging as a major gatekeeper against oxidative stress. However, its contribution to redox state and inflammation in the diabetic heart remains to be elucidated.

Objective: The present study investigates the role of JunD in hyperglycemia-induced and reactive oxygen species-driven myocardial dysfunction.

Methods And Results: JunD mRNA and protein expression were reduced in the myocardium of mice with streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus as compared to controls. JunD downregulation was associated with oxidative stress and left ventricular dysfunction assessed by electron spin resonance spectroscopy as well as conventional and 2-dimensional speckle-tracking echocardiography. Furthermore, myocardial expression of free radical scavenger superoxide dismutase 1 and aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 was reduced, whereas the NOX2 (NADPH [nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphatase] oxidase subunit 2) and NOX4 (NADPH [nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphatase] oxidase subunit 4) were upregulated. The redox changes were associated with increased NF-κB (nuclear factor kappa B) binding activity and expression of inflammatory mediators. Interestingly, mice with cardiac-specific overexpression of JunD via the α MHC (α- myosin heavy chain) promoter (α MHC ) were protected against hyperglycemia-induced cardiac dysfunction. We also showed that JunD was epigenetically regulated by promoter hypermethylation, post-translational modification of histone marks, and translational repression by miRNA (microRNA)-673/menin. Reduced JunD mRNA and protein expression were confirmed in left ventricular specimens obtained from patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus as compared to nondiabetic subjects.

Conclusions: Here, we show that a complex epigenetic machinery involving DNA methylation, histone modifications, and microRNAs mediates hyperglycemia-induced JunD downregulation and myocardial dysfunction in experimental and human diabetes mellitus. Our results pave the way for tissue-specific therapeutic modulation of JunD to prevent diabetic cardiomyopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.120.317132DOI Listing
October 2020

Postischemic Administration of IL-1α Neutralizing Antibody Reduces Brain Damage and Neurological Deficit in Experimental Stroke.

Circulation 2020 Jul 13;142(2):187-189. Epub 2020 Jul 13.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zürich, Schlieren, Switzerland (L.L, N.R.B., Y.M.P., L.S., A.A., J.H.B., T.F.L., G.G.C.).

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.046301DOI Listing
July 2020

Cardiomyocyte-Specific JunD Overexpression Increases Infarct Size following Ischemia/Reperfusion Cardiac Injury by Downregulating Sirt3.

Thromb Haemost 2020 Jan 13;120(1):168-180. Epub 2019 Dec 13.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in acute myocardial infarction activates several deleterious molecular mechanisms. The transcription factor JunD regulates pathways involved in oxidative stress as well as in cellular proliferation, differentiation, and death. The present study investigated the potential role of JunD as a modulator of myocardial injury pathways in a mouse model of cardiac I/R injury. Infarct size, systemic and local inflammation, and production of reactive oxygen species, as well as cytosolic and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways were investigated in adult males after myocardial I/R. In wild-type (WT) mice, 30 minutes after ischemia and up to 24 hours following reperfusion, cardiac messenger ribonucleic acid expression was reduced while increased. Cardiac-specific JunD overexpressing mice ( ) displayed larger infarcts compared with WT. However, postischemic inflammatory or oxidative responses did not differ. JunD overexpression reduced Sirt3 transcription by binding to its promoter, thus leading to mitochondrial dysfunction, myocardial cell death, and increased infarct size. On the other hand, JunD silencing reduced, while Sirt3 silencing increased infarct size. In human myocardial autopsy specimens, JunD-positive areas within the infarcted left ventricle staining corresponded to undetectable Sirt3 areas in consecutive sections of the same heart. Cardiac-specific JunD overexpression increases myocardial infarct size following I/R. These effects are mediated via Sirt3 transcriptional repression, mitochondrial swelling, and increased apoptosis, suggesting that JunD is a key regulator of myocardial I/R injury. The present data set the stage for further investigation of the potential role of Sirt3 activation as a novel target for the treatment of acute myocardial infarction.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-3400299DOI Listing
January 2020

Interleukin-1β Mediates Arterial Thrombus Formation via NET-Associated Tissue Factor.

J Clin Med 2019 Nov 26;8(12). Epub 2019 Nov 26.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, 8952 Schlieren, Switzerland.

CANTOS reported reduced secondary atherothrombotic events in patients with residual inflammatory risk treated with the inhibitory anti-IL-1β antibody, Canakinumab. Yet, mechanisms that underlie this benefit remain elusive. Recent work has implicated formation of neutrophil extracellular traps (NETosis) in arterial thrombosis. Hence, the present study explored the potential link between IL-1β, NETs, and tissue factor (TF)-the key trigger of the coagulation cascade-in atherothrombosis. To this end, ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) patients from the Swiss multicenter trial SPUM-ACS were retrospectively and randomly selected based on their CRP levels. In particular, 33 patients with STEMI and high C-reactive protein (CRP) levels (≥ 10 mg/L) and, 33 with STEMI and low CRP levels (≤ 4 mg/L) were investigated. High CRP patients displayed elevated circulating IL-1β, NETosis, and NET-associated TF plasma levels compared with low CRP ones. Additionally, analysis of patients stratified by circulating IL-1β levels yielded similar results. Moreover, NETosis and NET-associated TF plasma levels correlated positively in the whole population. In addition to the above, translational research experiments provided mechanistic confirmation for the clinical data identifying IL-1β as the initial trigger for the release of the pro-coagulant, NET-associated TF. In conclusion, blunted TF presentation by activated neutrophils undergoing NETosis may provide a mechanistic explanation to reduced secondary atherothrombotic events as observed in canakinumab-treated patients in CANTOS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm8122072DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6947515PMC
November 2019

Endothelial SIRT6 blunts stroke size and neurological deficit by preserving blood-brain barrier integrity: a translational study.

Eur Heart J 2020 04;41(16):1575-1587

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, Schlieren 8952, Switzerland.

Aims: Aging is an established risk factor for stroke; genes regulating longevity are implicated in the pathogenesis of ischaemic stroke where to date, therapeutic options remain limited. The blood-brain barrier (BBB) is crucially involved in ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R) brain injury thus representing an attractive target for developing novel therapeutic agents. Given the role of endothelial cells in the BBB, we hypothesized that the endothelial-specific expression of the recently described longevity gene SIRT6 may exhibit protective properties in stroke.

Methods And Results: SIRT6 endothelial expression was reduced following stroke. Endothelial-specific Sirt6 knockout (eSirt6-/-) mice, as well as animals in which Sirt6 overexpression was post-ischaemically induced, underwent transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO). eSirt6-/- animals displayed increased infarct volumes, mortality, and neurological deficit after tMCAO, as compared to control littermates. Conversely, post-ischaemic Sirt6 overexpression decreased infarct size and neurological deficit. Analysis of ischaemic brain sections revealed increased BBB damage and endothelial expression of cleaved caspase-3 in eSIRT6-/- mice as compared to controls. In primary human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMVECs), hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R) reduced SIRT6 expression and SIRT6 silencing impaired the barrier function (transendothelial resistance) similar to what was observed in mice exposed to I/R. Further, SIRT6-silenced HBMVECs exposed to H/R showed reduced viability, increased cleaved caspase-3 expression and reduced activation of the survival pathway Akt. In ischaemic stroke patients, SIRT6 expression was higher in those with short-term neurological improvement as assessed by NIHSS scale and correlated with stroke outcome.

Conclusion: Endothelial SIRT6 exerts a protective role in ischaemic stroke by blunting I/R-mediated BBB damage and thus, it may represent an interesting novel therapeutic target to be explored in future clinical investigation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz712DOI Listing
April 2020

Obesity-induced activation of JunD promotes myocardial lipid accumulation and metabolic cardiomyopathy.

Eur Heart J 2019 03;40(12):997-1008

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zürich, Wagistrasse 12, Schlieren, Switzerland.

Aims: Metabolic cardiomyopathy (MC)-characterized by intra-myocardial triglyceride (TG) accumulation and lipotoxic damage-is an emerging cause of heart failure in obese patients. Yet, its mechanisms remain poorly understood. The Activator Protein 1 (AP-1) member JunD was recently identified as a key modulator of hepatic lipid metabolism in obese mice. The present study investigates the role of JunD in obesity-induced MC.

Methods And Results: JunD transcriptional activity was increased in hearts from diet-induced obese (DIO) mice and was associated with myocardial TG accumulation and left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. Obese mice lacking JunD were protected against MC. In DIO hearts, JunD directly binds PPARγ promoter thus enabling transcription of genes involved in TG synthesis, uptake, hydrolysis, and storage (i.e. Fas, Cd36, Lpl, Plin5). Cardiac-specific overexpression of JunD in lean mice led to PPARγ activation, cardiac steatosis, and dysfunction, thereby mimicking the MC phenotype. In DIO hearts as well as in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes exposed to palmitic acid, Ago2 immunoprecipitation, and luciferase assays revealed JunD as a direct target of miR-494-3p. Indeed, miR-494-3p was down-regulated in hearts from obese mice, while its overexpression prevented lipotoxic damage by suppressing JunD/PPARγ signalling. JunD and miR-494-3p were also dysregulated in myocardial specimens from obese patients as compared with non-obese controls, and correlated with myocardial TG content, expression of PPARγ-dependent genes, and echocardiographic indices of LV dysfunction.

Conclusion: miR-494-3p/JunD is a novel molecular axis involved in obesity-related MC. These results pave the way for approaches to prevent or treat LV dysfunction in obese patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehy903DOI Listing
March 2019

AP-1 (Activated Protein-1) Transcription Factor JunD Regulates Ischemia/Reperfusion Brain Damage via IL-1β (Interleukin-1β).

Stroke 2019 02;50(2):469-477

From the Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland (C.D.-C., M.F.R., N.R.B., L.L., P.W., H.A., S.B.-S., J.H.B., A.A., T.F.L., G.G.C.).

Background and Purpose- Inflammation is a major pathogenic component of ischemia/reperfusion brain injury, and as such, interventions aimed at inhibiting inflammatory mediators promise to be effective strategies in stroke therapy. JunD-a member of the AP-1 (activated protein-1) family of transcription factors-was recently shown to regulate inflammation by targeting IL (interleukin)-1β synthesis and macrophage activation. The purpose of the present study was to assess the role of JunD in ischemia/reperfusion-induced brain injury. Methods- WT (wild type) mice randomly treated with either JunD or scramble (control) siRNA were subjected to 45 minutes of transient middle cerebral artery occlusion followed by 24 hours of reperfusion. Stroke size, neurological deficit, plasma/brain cytokines, and oxidative stress determined by 4-hydroxynonenal immunofluorescence staining were evaluated 24 hours after reperfusion. Additionally, the role of IL-1β was investigated by treating JunD siRNA mice with an anti-IL-1β monoclonal antibody on reperfusion. Finally, JunD expression was assessed in peripheral blood monocytes isolated from patients with acute ischemic stroke. Results- In vivo JunD knockdown resulted in increased stroke size, reduced neurological function, and increased systemic inflammation, as confirmed by higher neutrophil count and lymphopenia. Brain tissue IL-1β levels were augmented in JunD siRNA mice as compared with scramble siRNA, whereas no difference was detected in IL-6, TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor-α), and 4-hydroxynonenal levels. The deleterious effects of silencing of JunD were rescued by treating mice with an anti-IL-1β antibody. In addition, JunD expression was decreased in peripheral blood monocytes of patients with acute ischemic stroke at 6 and 24 hours after onset of stroke symptoms compared with sex- and age-matched healthy controls. Conclusions- JunD blunts ischemia/reperfusion-induced brain injury via suppression of IL-1β.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/STROKEAHA.118.023739DOI Listing
February 2019

Deleterious role of endothelial lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 in ischaemia/reperfusion cerebral injury.

J Cereb Blood Flow Metab 2019 11 3;39(11):2233-2245. Epub 2018 Aug 3.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland.

Lectin-like oxidized low-density lipoprotein receptor-1 (LOX-1) is implicated in cardiovascular disease by modulating apoptosis and oxidative stress. We hypothesized that LOX-1 may be involved in pathophysiology of stroke by mediating ischaemia/reperfusion (I/R)-dependent cell death. Transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) was performed in wild-type (WT) mice, endothelial-specific LOX-1 transgenic mice (eLOX-1TG) and WT animals treated with LOX-1 silencing RNA (siRNA). In WT mice exposed to tMCAO, LOX-1 expression and function were increased in the MCA. Compared to WT animals, eLOX-1TG mice displayed increased stroke volumes and worsened outcome after I/R. Conversely, LOX-1-silencing decreased both stroke volume and neurological impairment. Similarly, in HBMVECs, hypoxia/reoxygenation increased LOX-1 expression, while LOX-1 overexpressing cells showed increased death following hypoxia reoxygenation. Increased caspase-3 activation was observed following LOX-1 overexpression both in vivo and in vitro, thus representing a likely mediator. Finally, monocytes from ischaemic stroke patients exhibited increased LOX-1 expression which also correlated with disease severity. Our data unequivocally demonstrate a key role for LOX-1 in determining outcome following I/R brain damage. Our findings could be corroborated in human brain endothelial cells and monocytes from patients, underscoring their translational relevance and suggesting siRNA-mediated LOX-1 knockdown as a novel therapeutic strategy for stroke patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0271678X18793266DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6827115PMC
November 2019

Corrigendum to 'Sirtuin 5 as a novel target to blunt blood-brain barrier damage induced by cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury' [Int. J. Cardiol. 260 (2018) 148-155].

Int J Cardiol 2018 11 13;271:405. Epub 2018 Jul 13.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland; Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; Zurich Neuroscience Center (ZNZ), Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address:

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2018.07.004DOI Listing
November 2018

Post-ischaemic administration of the murine Canakinumab-surrogate antibody improves outcome in experimental stroke.

Eur Heart J 2018 10;39(38):3511-3517

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, Schlieren, Switzerland.

Aims: The CANTOS trial underscored the efficacy of selective antibody-based interleukin (IL)-1β inhibition with Canakinumab in secondary prevention of cardiovascular events. Despite the success of the trial, incidence of stroke was not reduced likely due to the low number of events and the relatively young age of patients enrolled. Given the established role of IL-1β in stroke, we tested the efficacy of the murine Canakinumab-equivalent antibody in a mouse model of ischaemic stroke. To mimic the clinical scenario of modern stroke management, IL-1β inhibition was performed post-ischaemically upon reperfusion as it would be the case in patients presenting to the emergency room and eligible for thrombolytic therapy.

Methods And Results: Transient middle cerebral artery occlusion (tMCAO) was performed in wild type mice; upon reperfusion, mice were randomly allocated to anti-IL-1β antibody or vehicle treatment. Following tMCAO, cerebral IL-1β levels, unlike tumour necrosis factor-α, were increased underscoring a role for this cytokine. Post-ischaemic treatment with IL-1β antibody reduced infarct size, cerebral oedema and improved neurological performance as assessed by 2,3,5-triphenyltetrazolium chloride staining, Bederson and RotaRod tests. Antibody-treated animals also exhibited a reduced neutrophil and matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)-2 but not MMP-9, activity in ipsilateral hemispheres as compared to vehicle-treated mice. Noteworthy, tMCAO associated vascular endothelial-cadherin reduction was blunted in IL-1β antibody-treated mice compared to vehicle-treated, likely providing the mechanistic explanation for the improved outcome.

Conclusion: Our data for the first time demonstrate the efficacy of selective post-ischaemic IL-1β blockade in improving outcome following experimental ischaemia/reperfusion brain injury in the mouse and encourage further focused clinical studies assessing the potential of the approved IL-1β antibody Canakinumab, as an adjuvant therapy to thrombolysis in acute ischaemic stroke patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehy286DOI Listing
October 2018

Sirtuin 5 as a novel target to blunt blood-brain barrier damage induced by cerebral ischemia/reperfusion injury.

Int J Cardiol 2018 06;260:148-155

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland,; Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; Zurich Neuroscience Center (ZNZ), Zurich, Switzerland. Electronic address:

Background: In acute ischemic stroke (AIS) patients, impaired blood-brain barrier (BBB) integrity is associated with hemorrhagic transformation and worsened outcome. Yet, the mechanisms underlying these relationships are poorly understood and consequently therapeutic strategies are lacking. This study sought to determine whether SIRT5 contributes to BBB damage following I/R brain injury.

Methods And Results: SIRT5 knockout (SIRT5) and wild type (WT) mice underwent transient middle cerebral artery (MCA) occlusion (tMCAO) followed by 48h of reperfusion. Genetic deletion of SIRT5 decreased infarct size, improved neurological function and blunted systemic inflammation following stroke. Similar effects were also achieved by in vivo SIRT5 silencing. Immunohistochemical analysis revealed decreased BBB leakage and degradation of the tight junction protein occludin in SIRT5 mice exposed to tMCAO as compared to WT. In primary human brain microvascular endothelial cells (HBMVECs) exposed to hypoxia/reoxygenation (H/R), SIRT5 silencing decreased endothelial permeability and upregulated occludin and claudin-5; this effect was prevented by the PI3K inhibitor wortmannin. Lastly, SIRT5 gene expression was increased in peripheral blood monocytes (PBMCs) of AIS patients at 6h after onset of stroke compared to sex- and age-matched healthy controls.

Conclusion: SIRT5 is upregulated in PBMCs of AIS patients and in the MCA of WT mice exposed to tMCAO; SIRT5 mediates I/R-induced brain damage by increasing BBB permeability through degradation of occludin. This effect was reproduced in HBMVECs exposed to H/R, mediated by the PI3K/Akt pathway. Our findings shed new light on the mechanisms of I/R-dependent brain damage and suggest SIRT5 as a novel therapeutic target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2017.12.060DOI Listing
June 2018

Cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (Cyr61): a novel soluble biomarker of acute myocardial injury improves risk stratification after acute coronary syndromes.

Eur Heart J 2017 Dec;38(47):3493-3502

Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center, University Hospital of Zurich and Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Rämistr. 100, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland and Wagistr. 12, CH-8952 Schlieren, Switzerland.

Aims: We aimed to identify a novel biomarker involved in the early events leading to an acute coronary syndrome (ACS) and evaluate its role in diagnosis and risk stratification.

Methods And Results: Biomarker identification was based on gene expression profiling. In coronary thrombi of ACS patients, cysteine-rich angiogenic inducer 61 (Cyr61, CCN1) gene transcripts were highly up-regulated compared with peripheral mononuclear cells. In a murine ischaemia-reperfusion model (I/R), myocardial Cyr61 expression was markedly increased compared with the controls. Cyr61 levels were determined in human serum using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Cohorts of ACS (n = 2168) referred for coronary angiography, stable coronary artery disease (CAD) (n = 53), and hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM) patients (n = 15) served to identify and evaluate the diagnostic and prognostic performance of the biomarker. Cyr61 was markedly elevated in ST-elevation myocardial infarction patients compared with non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction/unstable angina or stable CAD patients, irrespective of whether coronary thrombi were present. Cyr61 was rapidly released after occlusion of a septal branch in HOCM patients undergoing transcoronary ablation of septal hypertrophy. Cyr61 improved risk stratification for all-cause mortality when added to the reference GRACE risk score at 30 days (C-statistic 0.88 to 0.89, P = 0.001) and 1 year (C-statistic 0.77 to 0.80, P < 0.001) comparable to high-sensitivity troponin T (30 days: 0.88 to 0.89, P < 0.001; 1 year: 0.77 to 0.79, P < 0.001). Similar results were obtained for the composite endpoint of all-cause mortality or myocardial infarction. Conversely, in a population-based case-control cohort (n = 362), Cyr61 was not associated with adverse outcome.

Conclusion: Cyr61 is a novel early biomarker reflecting myocardial injury that improves risk stratification in ACS patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx640DOI Listing
December 2017

Interplay among H3K9-editing enzymes SUV39H1, JMJD2C and SRC-1 drives p66Shc transcription and vascular oxidative stress in obesity.

Eur Heart J 2019 01;40(4):383-391

Cardiology Unit, Department of Medicine Solna, Karolinska Institute and Karolinska University Hospital, Solnavägen, 171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.

Aims: Accumulation of reactive oxygen species (ROS) promotes vascular disease in obesity, but the underlying molecular mechanisms remain poorly understood. The adaptor p66Shc is emerging as a key molecule responsible for ROS generation and vascular damage. This study investigates whether epigenetic regulation of p66Shc contributes to obesity-related vascular disease.

Methods And Results: ROS-driven endothelial dysfunction was observed in visceral fat arteries (VFAs) isolated from obese subjects when compared with normal weight controls. Gene profiling of chromatin-modifying enzymes in VFA revealed a significant dysregulation of methyltransferase SUV39H1 (fold change, -6.9, P < 0.01), demethylase JMJD2C (fold change, 3.2, P < 0.01), and acetyltransferase SRC-1 (fold change, 5.8, P < 0.01) in obese vs. control VFA. These changes were associated with reduced di-(H3K9me2) and trimethylation (H3K9me3) as well as acetylation (H3K9ac) of histone 3 lysine 9 (H3K9) on p66Shc promoter. Reprogramming SUV39H1, JMJD2C, and SRC-1 in isolated endothelial cells as well as in aortas from obese mice (LepOb/Ob) suppressed p66Shc-derived ROS, restored nitric oxide levels, and rescued endothelial dysfunction. Consistently, in vivo editing of chromatin remodellers blunted obesity-related vascular p66Shc expression. We show that SUV39H1 is the upstream effector orchestrating JMJD2C/SRC-1 recruitment to p66Shc promoter. Indeed, SUV39H1 overexpression in obese mice erased H3K9-related changes on p66Shc promoter, while SUV39H1 genetic deletion in lean mice recapitulated obesity-induced H3K9 remodelling and p66Shc transcription.

Conclusion: These results uncover a novel epigenetic mechanism underlying endothelial dysfunction in obesity. Targeting SUV39H1 may attenuate oxidative transcriptional programmes and thus prevent vascular disease in obese individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehx615DOI Listing
January 2019

Tissue Factor Expression Does Not Predict Mortality in Breast Cancer Patients.

Anticancer Res 2017 06;37(6):3259-3264

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland

Background: Tissue factor (TF), the trigger of coagulation, not only initiates thrombus formation, but also elicits tumor growth and invasion in breast cancer. However, the characterization of TF expression in breast cancer tissue and its prognostic value remain unclear.

Materials And Methods: Three hundred and three primary breast cancer specimens from the local tumor tissue database were immunostained for TF expression and evaluated semiquantitatively. Tumor characteristics (size, grade, nodal status, and ER expression) as well as patient's survival were assessed.

Results: Expression of TF was detected in 99% of specimens with higher expression in invasive lobular than ductal carcinoma (p=0.008). TF expression correlated with ER expression (p<0.0001) and inversely with tumor grade (p=0.006). Survival analysis did not reveal any prognostic impact of TF expression (p=0.966).

Conclusion: This study - by analyzing TF expression in the largest cohort of breast cancer patients so far - does not support a prognostic impact of TF expression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.21873/anticanres.11689DOI Listing
June 2017

Endothelial LOX-1 activation differentially regulates arterial thrombus formation depending on oxLDL levels: role of the Oct-1/SIRT1 and ERK1/2 pathways.

Cardiovasc Res 2017 Apr;113(5):498-507

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Winterthurerstr. 190, CH-8057 Zurich, Switzerland.

Aims: The lectin-like oxLDL receptor-1 (LOX-1) promotes endothelial uptake of oxidized low-density lipoprotein (oxLDL) and plays an important role in atherosclerosis and acute coronary syndromes (ACS). However, its role in arterial thrombus formation remains unknown. We investigated whether LOX-1 plays a role in arterial thrombus formation in vivo at different levels of oxLDL using endothelial-specific LOX-1 transgenic mice (LOX-1TG) and a photochemical injury thrombosis model of the carotid artery.

Methods And Results: In mice fed a normal chow diet, time to arterial occlusion was unexpectedly prolonged in LOX-1TG as compared to WT. In line with this, tissue factor (TF) expression and activity in carotid arteries of LOX-1TG mice were reduced by half. This effect was mediated by activation of octamer transcription factor 1 (Oct-1) leading to upregulation of the mammalian deacetylase silent information regulator-two 1 (SIRT1) via binding to its promoter and subsequent inhibition of NF-κB signaling. In contrast, intravenous injection of oxLDL as well as high cholesterol diet for 6 weeks led to a switch from the Oct-1/SIRT1 signal transduction pathway to the ERK1/2 pathway and in turn to an enhanced thrombotic response with shortened occlusion time.

Conclusions: Thus, LOX-1 differentially regulates thrombus formation in vivo depending on the degree of activation by oxLDL. At low oxLDL levels LOX-1 activates the protective Oct-1/SIRT1 pathway, while at higher levels of the lipoprotein switches to the thrombogenic ERK1/2 pathway. These findings may be important for arterial thrombus formation in ACS and suggest that SIRT1 may represent a novel therapeutic target in this context.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvx015DOI Listing
April 2017

Ticagrelor, but not clopidogrel, reduces arterial thrombosis via endothelial tissue factor suppression.

Cardiovasc Res 2017 01 15;113(1):61-69. Epub 2016 Nov 15.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Laboratory for Platelet Research, University of Zurich, Wagistrasse 12, 8952 Schlieren, Switzerland;

Aims: The P2Y antagonist ticagrelor reduces mortality in patients with acute coronary syndrome (ACS), compared with clopidogrel, and the mechanisms underlying this effect are not clearly understood. Arterial thrombosis is the key event in ACS; however, direct vascular effects of either ticagrelor or clopidogrel with focus on arterial thrombosis and its key trigger tissue factor have not been previously investigated.

Methods And Results: Human aortic endothelial cells were treated with ticagrelor or clopidogrel active metabolite (CAM) and stimulated with tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α); effects on procoagulant tissue factor (TF) expression and activity, its counter-player TF pathway inhibitor (TFPI) and the underlying mechanisms were determined. Further, arterial thrombosis by photochemical injury of the common carotid artery, and TF expression in the murine endothelium were examined in C57BL/6 mice treated with ticagrelor or clopidogrel. Ticagrelor, but not CAM, reduced TNF-α-induced TF expression via proteasomal degradation and TF activity, independently of the P2Y receptor and the equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1), an additional target of ticagrelor. In C57BL/6 mice, ticagrelor prolonged time to arterial occlusion, compared with clopidogrel, despite comparable antiplatelet effects. In line with our in vitro results, ticagrelor, but not clopidogrel, reduced TF expression in the endothelium of murine arteries.

Conclusion: Ticagrelor, unlike clopidogrel, exhibits endothelial-specific antithrombotic properties and blunts arterial thrombus formation. The additional antithrombotic properties displayed by ticagrelor may explain its greater efficacy in reducing thrombotic events in clinical trials. These findings may provide the basis for new indications for ticagrelor.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvw233DOI Listing
January 2017

Reduced nitric oxide bioavailability mediates cerebroarterial dysfunction independent of cerebral amyloid angiopathy in a mouse model of Alzheimer's disease.

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2017 Feb 11;312(2):H232-H238. Epub 2016 Nov 11.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren, University of Zurich, and Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center, University Hospital Zurich, Schlieren, Switzerland;

In Alzheimer's disease (AD), cerebral arteries, in contrast to cerebral microvessels, show both cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) -dependent and -independent vessel wall pathology. However, it remains unclear whether CAA-independent vessel wall pathology affects arterial function, thereby chronically reducing cerebral perfusion, and, if so, which mechanisms mediate this effect. To this end, we assessed the ex vivo vascular function of the basilar artery and a similar-sized peripheral artery (femoral artery) in the Swedish-Arctic (SweArc) transgenic AD mouse model at different disease stages. Furthermore, we used quantitative immunohistochemistry to analyze CAA, endothelial morphology, and molecular pathways pertinent to vascular relaxation. We found that endothelium-dependent, but not smooth muscle-dependent, vasorelaxation was significantly impaired in basilar and femoral arteries of 15-mo-old SweArc mice compared with that of age-matched wild-type and 6-mo-old SweArc mice. This impairment was accompanied by significantly reduced levels of cyclic GMP, indicating a reduced nitric oxide (NO) bioavailability. However, no age- and genotype-related differences in oxidative stress as measured by lipid peroxidation were observed. Although parenchymal capillaries, arterioles, and arteries showed abundant CAA in the 15-mo-old SweArc mice, no CAA or changes in endothelial morphology were detected histologically in the basilar and femoral artery. Thus our results suggest that, in this AD mouse model, dysfunction of large intracranial, extracerebral arteries important for brain perfusion is mediated by reduced NO bioavailability rather than by CAA. This finding supports the growing body of evidence highlighting the therapeutic importance of targeting the cerebrovasculature in AD.

New & Noteworthy: We show that vasorelaxation of the basilar artery, a large intracranial, extracerebral artery important for cerebral perfusion, is impaired independent of cerebral amyloid angiopathy in a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease. Interestingly, this dysfunction is specifically endothelium related and is mediated by impaired nitric oxide-cyclic GMP bioavailability.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1152/ajpheart.00607.2016DOI Listing
February 2017

The MAP kinase JNK2 mediates cigarette smoke-induced arterial thrombosis.

Thromb Haemost 2017 01 20;117(1):83-89. Epub 2016 Oct 20.

Dr. Giovanni G. Camici, PhD, Center for Molecular Cardiology, Wagistrasse 12, 8952 Schlieren, Switzerland, Tel.: +41 44 635 64 68, Fax: +41 44 635 68 27, E-mail:

Despite public awareness of its deleterious effects, smoking remains a major cause of death. Indeed, it is a risk factor for atherothrombotic complications and in line with this, the introduction of smoking ban in public areas reduced smoking-associated cardiovascular complications. Nonetheless, smoking remains a major concern, and molecular mechanisms by which it causes cardiovascular disease are not known. Peripheral blood monocytes from healthy smokers displayed increased JNK2 and tissue factor (TF) gene expression compared to non-smokers (n=15, p<0.05). Similarly, human aortic endothelial cells exposed to cigarette smoke total particulate matter (CS-TPM) revealed increased TF expression mediated by JNK2 (n=4; p<0.05). Wild-type and JNK2 mice were exposed to cigarette smoke for two weeks after which arterial thrombosis was investigated. Wild-type mice exposed to smoke displayed reduced time to thrombotic arterial occlusion (n=8; p<0.05) and increased tissue factor activity (n=7; p<0.05) as compared to wild-type controls (n=6), while JNK2mice exposed to smoke maintained an unaltered thrombotic potential (n=8; p=NS) and tissue factor activity (n=8) comparable to that of JNK2 and wild-type controls (n=6; p=NS). Smoking caused an increased production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in wild-type but not in JNK2 mice (n=7; p<0.05 for wild-type mice and n=5-6; p=NS for JNK2 mice). In conclusion, the MAP kinase JNK2 mediates cigarette smoke-induced TF activation, arterial thrombosis and ROS production. These results underscore a major role of JNK2 in smoke-mediated thrombus formation and may offer an attractive target to prevent smoke-related thrombosis in those subjects which do not manage quitting.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1160/TH16-05-0351DOI Listing
January 2017

Carbamylated Low-Density Lipoproteins Induce a Prothrombotic State Via LOX-1: Impact on Arterial Thrombus Formation In Vivo.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2016 10;68(15):1664-1676

University Heart Center Zurich, University Hospital Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland; Center of Molecular Cardiology, University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.

Background: Carbamylation alters low-density lipoprotein (LDL) structure and is thought to promote vascular inflammation and dysfunction in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD).

Objectives: This study sought to determine whether carbamylated LDL (cLDL) exerts prothrombotic effects in vascular cells and platelets and whether cLDL enhances arterial thrombus formation in vivo.

Methods: LDL was isolated from healthy subjects or patients with CKD by sequential ultracentrifugation. Ex vivo carbamylation of LDL from healthy subjects was induced with potassium cyanate. Arterial thrombus formation was analyzed in a murine carotid artery photochemical injury model. Protein expression and mRNA levels were analyzed by Western blotting, flow cytometry, and real-time PCR. Platelet aggregation was measured by impedance aggregometry.

Results: Intravenous administration of cLDL in mice accelerated arterial thrombus formation compared to treatment with native LDL (nLDL) or vehicle. Tissue lysates of mouse carotid arteries revealed that cLDL induced the expression of TF, PAI-1, and LOX-1 mRNA in vascular cells. In human aortic smooth muscle and endothelial cells, cLDL induced TF and PAI-1 expression. In contrast, nLDL had no effect on either cell type. While nLDL and cLDL had no aggregatory effect on resting platelets, cLDL enhanced platelet aggregation in response to different agonists. This effect was mediated by mitogen-activated protein kinase p38 phosphorylation and LOX-1 translocation to the surface. LDL isolated from patients with CKD mimicked the prothrombotic effects of cLDL on vascular cells, platelets, and thrombus formation in vivo.

Conclusions: We found that cLDL induces prothrombotic effects in vascular cells and platelets by activation of the LOX-1 receptor and enhances thrombus formation in vivo. This observation reveals a new mechanism underlying the increased incidence of acute thrombotic events observed in patients with CKD and may lead to the development of new lipid-targeting therapies in this population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2016.07.755DOI Listing
October 2016

Mitochondrial dynamics and cell death in heart failure.

Heart Fail Rev 2016 Mar;21(2):123-36

The Molecular Cardiology and Neuromuscular Institute, 75 Raritan Avenue, Highland Park, NJ, 08904, USA.

The highly regulated processes of mitochondrial fusion (joining), fission (division) and trafficking, collectively called mitochondrial dynamics, determine cell-type specific morphology, intracellular distribution and activity of these critical organelles. Mitochondria are critical for cardiac function, while their structural and functional abnormalities contribute to several common cardiovascular diseases, including heart failure (HF). The tightly balanced mitochondrial fusion and fission determine number, morphology and activity of these multifunctional organelles. Although the intracellular architecture of mature cardiomyocytes greatly restricts mitochondrial dynamics, this process occurs in the adult human heart. Fusion and fission modulate multiple mitochondrial functions, ranging from energy and reactive oxygen species production to Ca(2+) homeostasis and cell death, allowing the heart to respond properly to body demands. Tightly controlled balance between fusion and fission is of utmost importance in the high energy-demanding cardiomyocytes. A shift toward fission leads to mitochondrial fragmentation, while a shift toward fusion results in the formation of enlarged mitochondria and in the fusion of damaged mitochondria with healthy organelles. Mfn1, Mfn2 and OPA1 constitute the core machinery promoting mitochondrial fusion, whereas Drp1, Fis1, Mff and MiD49/51 are the core components of fission machinery. Growing evidence suggests that fusion/fission factors in adult cardiomyocytes play essential noncanonical roles in cardiac development, Ca(2+) signaling, mitochondrial quality control and cell death. Impairment of this complex circuit causes cardiomyocyte dysfunction and death contributing to heart injury culminating in HF. Pharmacological targeting of components of this intricate network may be a novel therapeutic modality for HF treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10741-016-9530-2DOI Listing
March 2016

Molecular mechanism of endothelial and vascular aging: implications for cardiovascular disease.

Eur Heart J 2015 Dec 4;36(48):3392-403. Epub 2015 Nov 4.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland University Heart Center, Cardiology, University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.

Western societies are aging due to an increasing life span, decreased birth rates, and improving social and health conditions. On the other hand, the prevalence of cardiovascular (CV) and cerebrovascular (CBV) diseases rises with age. Thus, in view of the ongoing aging pandemic, it is appropriate to better understand the molecular pathways of aging as well as age-associated CV and CBV diseases. Oxidative stress contributes to aging of organs and the whole body by an accumulation of reactive oxygen species promoting oxidative damage. Indeed, increased oxidative stress produced in the mitochondria and cytosol of heart and brain is a common denominator to almost all CV and CBV diseases. The mitochondrial adaptor protein p66(Shc) and the family of deacetylase enzymes, the sirtuins, regulate the aging process, determine lifespan of many species and are involved in CV diseases. GDF11, a member of TGFβ superfamily with homology to myostatin also retards the aging process via yet unknown mechanisms. Recent evidence points towards a promising role of this novel 'rejuvenation' factor in reducing age-related heart disease. Finally, telomere length is also involved in aging and the development of age-related CV dysfunction. This review focuses on the latest scientific advances in understanding age-related changes of the CV and CBV system, as well as delineating potential novel therapeutic targets derived from aging research for CV and CBV diseases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehv587DOI Listing
December 2015

Mitochondrial DNA maintenance: an appraisal.

Mol Cell Biochem 2015 Nov 19;409(1-2):283-305. Epub 2015 Aug 19.

The Molecular Cardiology and Neuromuscular Institute, 75 Raritan Avenue, Highland Park, NJ, 08904, USA.

Mitochondria play a crucial role in a variety of cellular processes ranging from energy metabolism, generation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), and Ca(2+) handling to stress responses, cell survival, and death. Malfunction of the organelle may contribute to the pathogenesis of neuromuscular disorders, cancer, premature aging, and cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial ischemia, cardiomyopathy, and heart failure. Mitochondria are unique as they contain their own genome organized into DNA-protein complexes, so-called mitochondrial nucleoids, along with multiprotein machineries, which promote mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) replication, transcription, and repair. Although the organelle possesses almost all known nuclear DNA repair pathways, including base excision repair, mismatch repair, and recombinational repair, the proximity of mtDNA to the main sites of ROS production and the lack of protective histones may result in increased susceptibility to oxidative stress and other types of mtDNA damage. Defects in the components of these highly organized machineries, which mediate mtDNA maintenance (replication and repair), may result in accumulation of point mutations and/or deletions in mtDNA and decreased mtDNA copy number impairing mitochondrial function. This review will focus on the mechanisms of mtDNA maintenance with emphasis on the proteins implicated in these processes and their functional role in various disease conditions and aging.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11010-015-2532-xDOI Listing
November 2015

Circulating FABP4 is a prognostic biomarker in patients with acute coronary syndrome but not in asymptomatic individuals.

Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol 2015 Aug 11;35(8):1872-9. Epub 2015 Jun 11.

From the Institute of Clinical Chemistry (H.R., D.H., S.C.-D., A.v.E., J.G.), Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center (R.K., N.F., A.A., U.L., C.M.M.), University Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland; Competence Center for Systems Physiology and Metabolic Diseases (CC-SPMD), Zurich, Switzerland (H.R., A.v.E.); Zurich Center for Integrative Human Physiology (ZIHP), Zurich, Switzerland (S.C.-D., U.L., C.M.M., T.F.L., A.v.E.); Bioinformatics, Genetic Diversity Center, Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), Zurich, Switzerland (S.Z.); Department of Internal Medicine (P.M.-V., P.V.), Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, Department of Community Medicine and Public Health (H.M.S.), University of Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; Institute of Social and Preventive Medicine, and Clinical Trials Unit, Department of Clinical Research (D.H.), Department of General Internal Medicine (N.R.), Department of Cardiology, Swiss Cardiovascular Center Bern (S.W.), University Hospital Bern, Bern, Switzerland; and Department of Cardiology, University Hospital Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland (F.M.).

Objective: Blood-borne biomarkers reflecting atherosclerotic plaque burden have great potential to improve clinical management of atherosclerotic coronary artery disease and acute coronary syndrome (ACS).

Approach And Results: Using data integration from gene expression profiling of coronary thrombi versus peripheral blood mononuclear cells and proteomic analysis of atherosclerotic plaque-derived secretomes versus healthy tissue secretomes, we identified fatty acid-binding protein 4 (FABP4) as a biomarker candidate for coronary artery disease. Its diagnostic and prognostic performance was validated in 3 different clinical settings: (1) in a cross-sectional cohort of patients with stable coronary artery disease, ACS, and healthy individuals (n=820), (2) in a nested case-control cohort of patients with ACS with 30-day follow-up (n=200), and (3) in a population-based nested case-control cohort of asymptomatic individuals with 5-year follow-up (n=414). Circulating FABP4 was marginally higher in patients with ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction (24.9 ng/mL) compared with controls (23.4 ng/mL; P=0.01). However, elevated FABP4 was associated with adverse secondary cerebrovascular or cardiovascular events during 30-day follow-up after index ACS, independent of age, sex, renal function, and body mass index (odds ratio, 1.7; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-2.5; P=0.02). Circulating FABP4 predicted adverse events with similar prognostic performance as the GRACE in-hospital risk score or N-terminal pro-brain natriuretic peptide. Finally, no significant difference between baseline FABP4 was found in asymptomatic individuals with or without coronary events during 5-year follow-up.

Conclusions: Circulating FABP4 may prove useful as a prognostic biomarker in risk stratification of patients with ACS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/ATVBAHA.115.305365DOI Listing
August 2015

Epigenetics of the failing heart.

Heart Fail Rev 2015 Jul;20(4):435-59

The Molecular Cardiology and Neuromuscular Institute, 75 Raritan Ave., Highland Park, NJ, 08904, USA,

With the impressive advancement in high-throughput 'omics' technologies over the past two decades, epigenetic mechanisms have emerged as the regulatory interface between the genome and environmental factors. These mechanisms include DNA methylation, histone modifications, ATP-dependent chromatin remodeling and RNA-based mechanisms. Their highly interdependent and coordinated action modulates the chromatin structure controlling access of the transcription machinery and thereby regulating expression of target genes. Given the rather limited proliferative capability of human cardiomyocytes, epigenetic regulation appears to play a particularly important role in the myocardium. The highly dynamic nature of the epigenome allows the heart to adapt to environmental challenges and to respond quickly and properly to cardiac stress. It is now becoming evident that histone-modifying and chromatin-remodeling enzymes as well as numerous non-coding RNAs play critical roles in cardiac development and function, while their dysregulation contributes to the onset and development of pathological cardiac remodeling culminating in HF. This review focuses on up-to-date knowledge about the epigenetic mechanisms and highlights their emerging role in the healthy and failing heart. Uncovering the determinants of epigenetic regulation holds great promise to accelerate the development of successful new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies in human cardiac disease.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10741-015-9483-xDOI Listing
July 2015

Genetic deletion of the adaptor protein p66Shc increases susceptibility to short-term ischaemic myocardial injury via intracellular salvage pathways.

Eur Heart J 2015 Feb 21;36(8):516-26a. Epub 2014 Oct 21.

Center for Molecular Cardiology, Schlieren Campus, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland Department of Cardiology, University Heart Center, Center for Molecular Cardiology, University Hospital and University of Zurich, Rämistrasse 100, CH-8091 Zurich, Switzerland Zurich Center of Integrative Human Physiology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland

Aims: Several intracellular mediators have been implicated as new therapeutic targets against myocardial ischaemia and reperfusion injury. However, clinically effective salvage pathways remain undiscovered. Here, we focused on the potential role of the adaptor protein p66(Shc) as a regulator of myocardial injury in a mouse model of cardiac ischaemia and reperfusion.

Methods And Results: Adult male p66(Shc) deficient (p66(Shc) (-/-)) and C57Bl/6 wild-type (WT) mice were exposed to 30, 45, or 60 min of ischaemia and reperfusion (5, 15 min, or 24 h). Infarct size, systemic and intracardiac inflammation and oxidants, as well as cytosolic and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways were investigated. Following 30, but not 45 or 60 min of ischaemia, genetic p66(Shc) deficiency was associated with larger infarcts. In WT mice, in vivo p66(Shc) knock down by siRNA with transient protein deficiency confirmed these findings. P66(Shc) inhibition was not associated with any modification in post-infarction inflammation, oxidative burst nor cardiac vessel density or structure. However, in p66(Shc) (-/-) mice activation of the protective and anti-apoptotic Reperfusion Injury Salvage Kinases and Survivor Activating Factor Enhancement pathways were blunted and mitochondrial swelling and cellular apoptosis via the caspase-3 pathway increased compared with WT.

Conclusions: Genetic deletion of p66(Shc) increased susceptibility to myocardial injury in response to short-term ischaemia and reperfusion in mice. Still, additional studies are needed for assessing the role of this pathway in acute coronary syndrome patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehu400DOI Listing
February 2015