• Inhibition of autophagy inhibits the conversion of cardiac fibroblasts to cardiac myofibroblasts.

Inhibition of autophagy inhibits the conversion of cardiac fibroblasts to cardiac myofibroblasts.

Oncotarget (2016-10-06)
Shivika S Gupta, Matthew R Zeglinski, Sunil G Rattan, Natalie M Landry, Saeid Ghavami, Jeffrey T Wigle, Thomas Klonisch, Andrew J Halayko, Ian M C Dixon

The incidence of heart failure with concomitant cardiac fibrosis is very high in developed countries. Fibroblast activation in heart is causal to cardiac fibrosis as they convert to hypersynthetic cardiac myofibroblasts. There is no known treatment for cardiac fibrosis. Myofibroblasts contribute to the inappropriate remodeling of the myocardial interstitium, which leads to reduced cardiac function and ultimately heart failure. Elevated levels of autophagy have been linked to stress-induced ventricular remodeling and other cardiac diseases. Previously, we had shown that TGF-β1 treatment of human atrial fibroblasts both induced autophagy and enhanced the fibrogenic response supporting a linkage between the myofibroblast phenotype and autophagy. We now demonstrate that with in vitro culture of primary rat cardiac fibroblasts, inhibition of autophagy represses fibroblast to myofibroblast phenoconversion. Culturing unpassaged cardiac fibroblasts for 72 hours on plastic tissue culture plates is associated with elevated α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA) expression. This activation parallels increased microtubule-associated protein 1A/1B-light chain 3 (LC-3β II) protein expression. Inhibition of autophagy with bafilomycin-A1 (Baf-A1) and chloroquine (CQ) in cardiac fibroblasts significantly reduces α-SMA and extracellular domain A fibronectin (ED-A FN) protein vs untreated controls. Myofibroblast cell migration and contractility were significantly reduced following inhibition of autophagy. These data support the possibility of a causal link between cardiac fibroblast-to-myofibroblast phenoconversion and autophagy.

Product Number
Product Description

Anti-Fibronectin Antibody, cellular, clone DH1, clone DH1, Chemicon®, from mouse
Anti-LC3B antibody produced in rabbit, ~1 mg/mL, affinity isolated antibody, buffered aqueous solution
Monoclonal Anti-Actin, α-Smooth Muscle, clone 1A4, ascites fluid