The mitochondrial regulator PGC1α is induced by cGMP-PKG signaling and mediates the protective effects of phosphodiesterase 5 inhibition in heart failure

FEBS Lett. 2022 Jan;596(1):17-28. doi: 10.1002/1873-3468.14228. Epub 2021 Nov 19.


Phosphodiesterase 5 inhibition (PDE5i) activates cGMP-dependent protein kinase (PKG) and ameliorates heart failure; however, its impact on cardiac mitochondrial regulation has not been fully determined. Here, we investigated the role of the mitochondrial regulator peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor γ co-activator-1α (PGC1α) in the PDE5i-conferred cardioprotection, utilizing PGC1α null mice. In PGC1α+/+ hearts exposed to 7 weeks of pressure overload by transverse aortic constriction, chronic treatment with the PDE5 inhibitor sildenafil improved cardiac function and remodeling, with improved mitochondrial respiration and upregulation of PGC1α mRNA in the myocardium. By contrast, PDE5i-elicited benefits were abrogated in PGC1α-/- hearts. In cultured cardiomyocytes, PKG overexpression induced PGC1α, while inhibition of the transcription factor CREB abrogated the PGC1α induction. Together, these results suggest that the PKG-PGC1α axis plays a pivotal role in the therapeutic efficacy of PDE5i in heart failure.

Keywords: PGC1α; cyclic guanosine monophosphate; heart failure; mitochondria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors*


  • Phosphodiesterase 5 Inhibitors