Aims: Heart failure (HF) is characterized by compromised cardiac structure and function. Previous work has identified a link between upregulation of pro-inflammatory cytokines and HF. Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-like weak inducer of apoptosis (TWEAK) is a pro-inflammatory cytokine, which binds to fibroblast growth factor inducible 14 (Fn14), a ubiquitously expressed cell-surface receptor. The objective of this study was to investigate the role of TWEAK/Fn14 pathway in promoting cardiac inflammation under non ischemic stress conditions.
Main methods: Wild type (WT) and Fn14 knock out (Fn14-/-) mice were subjected to pressure overload [transaortic constriction (TAC)] for 1 or 6 weeks. A subset of WT TAC animals were treated with the Fn14 antagonist L524-0366. Cardiac function was measured by echocardiography. Cardiac fibrosis and macrophage infiltration were quantified using immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry, respectively. Cardiac fibroblasts were isolated for quantifying TWEAK-induced chemokine release.
Key findings: Fn14-/- mice displayed improved cardiac function, reduced fibrosis and lower macrophage infiltration in heart compared to WT following TAC. L524-0366 mitigated maladaptive remodeling with TAC. TWEAK induced secretion of the pro-inflammatory chemokine, monocyte chemoattractant protein 1 from WT but not Fn14-/- fibroblasts in vitro, in part through activation of non-canonical NF-κB signaling. Finally, Fn14 expression was increased in mouse following TAC and in human failing hearts.
Significance: Our findings support an important role for the TWEAK/Fn14 promoting macrophage infiltration and fibrosis in heart under non-ischemic stress, with potential for therapeutic intervention to improve cardiac function in the setting of HF.
Keywords: Fn14; Heart failure; Inflammation; MCP-1; NF-κB; Pressure overload induced hypertrophy.
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