Targeted inhibition of Focal Adhesion Kinase Attenuates Cardiac Fibrosis and Preserves Heart Function in Adverse Cardiac Remodeling

Jie Zhang, Guangpu Fan, Hui Zhao, Zhiwei Wang, Fei Li, Peide Zhang, Jing Zhang, Xu Wang, Wei Wang
Scientific Reports2017
Cardiac fibrosis in post-myocardial infarction (MI), seen in both infarcted and non-infarcted myocardium, is beneficial to the recovery of heart function. But progressively pathological fibrosis impairs ventricular function and leads to poor prognosis. FAK has recently received attention as a potential mediator of fibrosis, our previous study reported that pharmacological inhibition of FAK can attenuate cardiac fibrosis in post MI models. However, the long-term effects on cardiac function and adverse cardiac remodelling were not clearly investigated. In this study, we tried to determine the preliminary mechanisms in regulating CF transformation to myofibroblasts and ECM synthesis relevant to the development of adverse cardiac remolding in vivo and in vitro. Our study provides even more evidence that FAK is directly related to the activation of CF in hypoxia condition in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. Pharmacological inhibition of FAK significantly reduces myofibroblast differentiation; our in vivo data demonstrated that a FAK inhibitor significantly decreases fibrotic score, and preserves partial left ventricular function. Both PI3K/AKT signalling and ERK1/2 are necessary for hypoxia-induced CF differentiation and ECM synthesis; this process also involves lysyl oxidase (LOX). These findings suggest that pharmacological inhibition of FAK may become an effective therapeutic strategy against adverse fibrosis.

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