Transforming growth factor beta3 (TGFB3) gene mutations in patients of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD1) and Loeys-Dietz syndrome-5 (LDS5)/Rienhoff syndrome are associated with cardiomyopathy, cardiac arrhythmia, cardiac fibrosis, cleft palate, aortic aneurysms, and valvular heart disease. Although the developing heart of embryos express Tgfb3, its overarching role remains unclear in cardiovascular development and disease. We used histological, immunohistochemical, and molecular analyses of Tgfb3-/- fetuses and compared them to wildtype littermate controls. The cardiovascular phenotypes were diverse with approximately two thirds of the Tgfb3-/- fetuses having one or more cardiovascular malformations, including abnormal ventricular myocardium (particularly of the right ventricle), outflow tract septal and alignment defects, abnormal aortic and pulmonary trunk walls, and thickening of semilunar and/or atrioventricular valves. Ventricular septal defects (VSD) including the perimembranous VSDs were observed in Tgfb3-/- fetuses with myocardial defects often accompanied by the muscular type VSD. In vitro studies using TGFβ3-deficient fibroblasts in 3-D collagen lattice formation assays indicated that TGFβ3 was required for collagen matrix reorganization. Biochemical studies indicated the 'paradoxically' increased activation of canonical (SMAD-dependent) and noncanonical (MAP kinase-dependent) pathways. TGFβ3 is required for cardiovascular development to maintain a balance of canonical and noncanonical TGFβ signaling pathways.
Keywords: arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia; cardiac development; cleft palate; congenital heart disease; loeys dietz syndrome-5; outflow tract septation; rienhoff syndrome; signaling networks; transforming growth factor beta-3.