Silencing Survivin: a Key Therapeutic Strategy for Cardiac Hypertrophy

Claudia Kusmic, Alessio Vizzoca, Monia Taranta, Lorena Tedeschi, Lisa Gherardini, Gualtiero Pelosi, Ambra Giannetti, Sara Tombelli, Settimio Grimaldi, Francesco Baldini, Claudio Domenici, Maria Giovanna Trivella, Caterina Cinti
Journal of Cardiovascular Translational Research2021
Cardiac hypertrophy, in its aspects of localized thickening of the interventricular septum and concentric increase of the left ventricle, constitutes a risk factor of heart failure. Myocardial hypertrophy, in the presence of different degree of myocardial fibrosis, is paralleled by significant molecular, cellular, and histological changes inducing alteration of cardiac extracellular matrix composition as well as sarcomeres and cytoskeleton remodeling. Previous studies indicate osteopontin (OPN) and more recently survivin (SURV) overexpression as the hallmarks of heart failure although SURV function in the heart is not completely clarified. In this study, we investigated the involvement of SURV in intracellular signaling of hypertrophic cardiomyocytes and the impact of its transcriptional silencing, laying the foundation for novel target gene therapy in cardiac hypertrophy. Oligonucleotide-based molecules, like theranostic optical nanosensors (molecular beacons) and siRNAs, targeting SURV and OPN mRNAs, were developed. Their diagnostic and therapeutic potential was evaluated in vitro in hypertrophic FGF23-induced human cardiomyocytes and in vivo in transverse aortic constriction hypertrophic mouse model. Engineered erythrocyte was used as shuttle to selectively target and transfer siRNA molecules into unhealthy cardiac cells in vivo. The results highlight how the SURV knockdown could negatively influence the expression of genes involved in myocardial fibrosis in vitro and restores structural, functional, and morphometric features in vivo. Together, these data suggested that SURV is a key factor in inducing cardiomyocytes hypertrophy, and its shutdown is crucial in slowing disease progression as well as reversing cardiac hypertrophy. In the perspective, targeted delivery of siRNAs through engineered erythrocytes can represent a promising therapeutic strategy to treat cardiac hypertrophy. Graphical abstract: Theranostic SURV molecular beacon (MB-SURV), transfected into FGF23-induced hypertrophic human cardiomyocytes, significantly dampened SURV overexpression. SURV down–regulation determines the tuning down of MMP9, TIMP1 and TIMP4 extracellular matrix remodeling factors while induces the overexpression of the cardioprotective MCAD factor, which counterbalance the absence of pro-survival and anti-apoptotic SURV activity to protect cardiomyocytes from death. In transverse aortic constriction (TAC) mouse model, the SURV silencing restores the LV mass levels to values not different from the sham group and counteracts the progressive decline of EF, maintaining its values always higher with respect to TAC group. These data demonstrate the central role of SURV in the cardiac reverse remodeling and its therapeutic potential to reverse cardiac hypertrophy. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]
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