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Wisteria floribunda agglutinin staining for the quantitative assessment of cardiac fibrogenic activity in a mouse model of dilated cardiomyopathy

Chiaki Nagai-Okatani, Mitsuhiro Nishigori, Takashi Sato, Naoto Minamino, Hiroyuki Kaji, Atsushi Kuno
Laboratory Investigation2019
Cardiac fibrosis is a typical phenomenon in failing hearts for most cardiac diseases, including dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), and its specific detection and quantification are crucial for the analysis of cardiac remodeling. Since cardiac fibrosis is characterized by extensive remodeling of the myocardial extracellular matrix (ECM), in which glycoproteins are the major components, we assumed that fibrosis-related alterations in the cardiac glycome and glycoproteome would be suitable targets for the detection of cardiac fibrosis. Here, we compared protein glycosylation between heart tissues of normal and DCM model mice by laser microdissection-assisted lectin microarray. Among 45 lectins, Wisteria floribunda agglutinin (WFA) was selected as the most suitable lectin for staining cardiac fibrotic tissues. Although the extent of WFA staining was highly correlated (r > 0.98) with that of picrosirius red staining, a common collagen staining method, WFA did not bind to collagen fibers. Further histochemical analysis with N-glycosidase revealed that WFA staining of fibrotic tissues was attributable to the binding of WFA to N-glycoproteins. Using a mass spectrometry-based approach, we identified WFA-binding N-glycoproteins expressed in DCM hearts, many of which were fibrogenesis-related ECM proteins, as expected. In addition, the identified glycoproteins carrying WFA-binding N-glycans were detected only in DCM hearts, suggesting their cooperative glycosylation alterations with disease progression. Among these WFA-binding ECM N-glycoproteins, co-localization of the collagen α6(VI) chain protein and WFA staining in cardiac tissue sections was confirmed with a double-staining analysis. Collectively, these results indicate that WFA staining is more suitable for the quantitative assessment of cardiac fibrogenic activity than current collagen staining methods. Furthermore, given that plasma WFA-binding glycoprotein levels were significantly correlated with the echocardiographic parameters for left ventricular remodeling, cardiac WFA-binding glycoproteins are candidate circulating glyco-biomarkers for the quantification and monitoring of cardiac fibrogenesis.

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