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      Thrombospondins: A Role in Cardiovascular Disease


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          Thrombospondins (TSPs) represent extracellular matrix (ECM) proteins belonging to the TSP family that comprises five members. All TSPs have a complex multidomain structure that permits the interaction with various partners including other ECM proteins, cytokines, receptors, growth factors, etc. Among TSPs, TSP1, TSP2, and TSP4 are the most studied and functionally tested. TSP1 possesses anti-angiogenic activity and is able to activate transforming growth factor (TGF)-β, a potent profibrotic and anti-inflammatory factor. Both TSP2 and TSP4 are implicated in the control of ECM composition in hypertrophic hearts. TSP1, TSP2, and TSP4 also influence cardiac remodeling by affecting collagen production, activity of matrix metalloproteinases and TGF-β signaling, myofibroblast differentiation, cardiomyocyte apoptosis, and stretch-mediated enhancement of myocardial contraction. The development and evaluation of TSP-deficient animal models provided an option to assess the contribution of TSPs to cardiovascular pathology such as (myocardial infarction) MI, cardiac hypertrophy, heart failure, atherosclerosis, and aortic valve stenosis. Targeting of TSPs has a significant therapeutic value for treatment of cardiovascular disease. The activation of cardiac TSP signaling in stress and pressure overload may be therefore beneficial.

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          Osteopontin: role in immune regulation and stress responses.

          Recent research has led to a better but as yet incomplete understanding of the complex roles osteopontin plays in mammalian physiology. A soluble protein found in all body fluids, it stimulates signal transduction pathways (via integrins and CD44 variants) similar to those stimulated by components of the extracellular matrix. This appears to promote the survival of cells exposed to potentially lethal insults such as ischemia/reperfusion or physical/chemical trauma. OPN is chemotactic for many cell types including macrophages, dendritic cells, and T cells; it enhances B lymphocyte immunoglobulin production and proliferation. In inflammatory situations it stimulates both pro- and anti-inflammatory processes, which on balance can be either beneficial or harmful depending on what other inputs the cell is receiving. OPN influences cell-mediated immunity and has been shown to have Th1-cytokine functions. OPN deficiency is linked to a reduced Th1 immune response in infectious diseases, autoimmunity and delayed type hypersensitivity. OPN's role in the central nervous system and in stress responses has also emerged as an important aspect related to its cytoprotective and immune functions. Evidence suggests that either OPN or anti-OPN monoclonal antibodies (depending on the circumstances) might be clinically useful in modulating OPN function. Manipulation of plasma OPN levels may be useful in the treatment of autoimmune disease, cancer metastasis, osteoporosis and some forms of stress.
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            NAD(P)H oxidase 4 mediates transforming growth factor-beta1-induced differentiation of cardiac fibroblasts into myofibroblasts.

            Human cardiac fibroblasts are the main source of cardiac fibrosis associated with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. Transforming growth factor-beta1 (TGF-beta1) irreversibly converts fibroblasts into pathological myofibroblasts, which express smooth muscle alpha-actin (SM alpha-actin) de novo and produce extracellular matrix. We hypothesized that TGF-beta1-stimulated conversion of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts requires reactive oxygen species derived from NAD(P)H oxidases (Nox). We found that TGF-beta1 potently upregulates the contractile marker SM alpha-actin mRNA (7.5+/-0.8-fold versus control). To determine whether Nox enzymes are involved, we first performed quantitative real time polymerase chain reaction and found that Nox5 and Nox4 are abundantly expressed in cardiac fibroblasts, whereas Nox1 and Nox2 are barely detectable. On stimulation with TGF-beta1, Nox4 mRNA is dramatically upregulated by 16.2+/-0.8-fold (n=3, P<0.005), whereas Nox5 is downregulated. Small interference RNA against Nox4 downregulates Nox4 mRNA by 80+/-5%, inhibits NADPH-driven superoxide production in response to TGF-beta1 by 65+/-7%, and reduces TGF-beta1-induced expression of SM alpha-actin by 95+/-2% (n=6, P<0.05). Because activation of small mothers against decapentaplegic (Smads) 2/3 is critical for myofibroblast conversion in response to TGF-beta1, we also determined whether Nox4 affects Smad 2/3 phosphorylation. Depletion of Nox4 but not Nox5 inhibits baseline and TGF-beta1 stimulation of Smad 2/3 phosphorylation by 75+/-5% and 68+/-3%, respectively (n=7, P<0.0001). We conclude that Nox 4 mediates TGF-beta1-induced conversion of fibroblasts to myofibroblasts by regulating Smad 2/3 activation. Thus, Nox4 may play a critical role in the pathological activation of cardiac fibroblasts in cardiac fibrosis associated with human heart failure.
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              Functions and mechanisms of action of CCN matricellular proteins.

              Members of the CCN (CYR61/CTGF/NOV) family have emerged as dynamically expressed, extracellular matrix-associated proteins that play critical roles in cardiovascular and skeletal development, injury repair, fibrotic diseases and cancer. The synthesis of CCN proteins is highly inducible by serum growth factors, cytokines, and environmental stresses such as hypoxia, UV exposure, and mechanical stretch. Consisting of six secreted proteins in vertebrate species, CCNs are typically comprised of four conserved cysteine-rich modular domains. They function primarily through direct binding to specific integrin receptors and heparan sulfate proteoglycans, thereby triggering signal transduction events that culminate in the regulation of cell adhesion, migration, proliferation, gene expression, differentiation, and survival. CCN proteins can also modulate the activities of several growth factors and cytokines, including TGF-beta, TNFalpha, VEGF, BMPs, and Wnt proteins, and may thereby regulate a broad array of biological processes. Recent studies have uncovered novel CCN activities unexpected for matricellular proteins, including their ability to induce apoptosis as cell adhesion substrates, to dictate the cytotoxicity of inflammatory cytokines such as TNFalpha, and to promote hematopoietic stem cell self-renewal. As potent regulators of angiogenesis and chondrogenesis, CCNs are essential for successful cardiovascular and skeletal development during embryogenesis. In the adult, the expression of CCN proteins is associated with injury repair and inflammation, and has been proposed as diagnostic or prognostic markers for diabetic nephropathy, hepatic fibrosis, systemic sclerosis, and several types of cancer. Targeting CCN signaling pathways may hold promise as a strategy of rational therapeutic design.

                Author and article information

                Int J Mol Sci
                Int J Mol Sci
                International Journal of Molecular Sciences
                17 July 2017
                July 2017
                : 18
                : 7
                [1 ]Department of Fundamental and Applied Neurobiology, Serbsky Federal Medical Research Center of Psychiatry and Narcology, 119991 Moscow, Russia
                [2 ]Laboratory of Angiopathology, Institute of General Pathology and Pathophysiology, Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, 125315 Moscow, Russia; zavod@ 123456ifarm.ru (A.A.M.); myika@ 123456yandex.ru (V.A.M.)
                [3 ]Federal Research and Clinical Center of Intensive Care Medicine and Rehabilitology, 109240 Moscow, Russia; avg-2007@ 123456yandex.ru
                [4 ]Institute for Atherosclerosis Research, Skolkovo Innovative Center, Moscow 121609, Russia; a.h.opexob@ 123456gmail.com
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: dimitry.chistiakov@ 123456lycos.com ; Tel.: +7-495-637-5055; Fax: +7-495-637-4000
                © 2017 by the authors.

                Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).


                Molecular biology
                thrombospondins,cardiac remodeling,cardiac hypertrophy,heart failure,atherosclerosis,myocardial infarction,cardiac fibrosis


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