• Inactivation of Sox9 in fibroblasts reduces cardiac fibrosis and inflammation

      Scharf, Gesine M.; Kilian, Katja; Cordero, Julio; Wang, Yong; Grund, Andrea; Hofmann, Melanie; Froese, Natali; Wang, Xue; Kispert, Andreas; Kist, Ralf; et al. (American Society for Clinical Investigation, 2019-08-08)
      Fibrotic scarring drives the progression of heart failure after myocardial infarction (MI). Therefore, the development of specific treatment regimens to counteract fibrosis is of high clinical relevance. The transcription factor SOX9 functions as an important regulator during embryogenesis, but recent data point towards an additional causal role in organ fibrosis. We show here that SOX9 is upregulated in the scar after MI in mice. Fibroblast specific deletion of Sox9 ameliorated MI-induced left ventricular dysfunction, dilatation and myocardial scarring in vivo. Unexpectedly, deletion of Sox9 also potently eliminated persisting leukocyte infiltration of the scar in the chronic phase after MI. RNA-sequencing from the infarct scar revealed that Sox9 deletion in fibroblasts resulted in strongly downregulated expression of genes related to extracellular matrix, proteolysis and inflammation. Importantly, Sox9 deletion in isolated cardiac fibroblasts in vitro similarly affected gene expression as in the cardiac scar and reduced fibroblast proliferation, migration and contraction capacity. Together, our data demonstrate that fibroblast SOX9 functions as a master regulator of cardiac fibrosis and inflammation and might constitute a novel therapeutic target during MI.
    • Therapeutic modulation of RNA-binding protein Rbm38 facilitates re-endothelialization after arterial injury.

      Sonnenschein, Kristina; Fiedler, Jan; Pfanne, Angelika; Just, Annette; Mitzka, Saskia; Geffers, Robert Robert; Pich, Andreas; Bauersachs, Johann; Thum, Thomas; HZI,Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung GmbH, Inhoffenstr. 7,38124 Braunschweig, Germany. (Oxford Academic, 2019-03-07)
      Aims Delayed re-endothelialization after balloon angioplasty in patients with coronary or peripheral artery disease impairs vascular healing and leads to neointimal proliferation. In the present study, we examined the effect of RNA-binding motif protein 38 (Rbm38) during re-endothelialization in a murine model of experimental vascular injury. Methods and results Left common carotid arteries of C57BL/6 mice were electrically denudated and endothelial regeneration was evaluated. Profiling of RNA-binding proteins revealed dysregulated expression of Rbm38 in the denudated and regenerated areas. We next tested the importance of Rbm38 in human umbilical vein endothelial cells (HUVECS) and analysed its effects on cellular proliferation, migration and apoptosis. Rbm38 silencing in vitro demonstrated important beneficial functional effects on migratory capacity and proliferation of endothelial cells. In vivo, local silencing of Rbm38 also improved re-endothelialization of denuded carotid arteries. Luciferase reporter assay identified miR-98 and let-7f to regulate Rbm38 and the positive proliferative properties of Rbm38 silencing in vitro and in vivo were mimicked by therapeutic overexpression of these miRNAs. Conclusion The present data identified Rbm38 as an important factor of the regulation of various endothelial cell functions. Local inhibition of Rbm38 as well as overexpression of the upstream regulators miR-98 and let-7f improved endothelial regeneration in vivo and thus may be a novel therapeutic entry point to avoid endothelial damage after balloon angioplasty.