Pathological myocardial hypertrophy in response to an increase in left ventricular (LV) afterload may ultimately lead to heart failure. Cell surface receptors bridge the interface between the cell and the extracellular matrix (ECM) in cardiac myocytes and cardiac fibroblasts and have been suggested to be important mediators of pathological myocardial hypertrophy. We identify for the first time that integrin α11 (α11) is preferentially upregulated among integrin β1 heterodimer-forming α-subunits in response to increased afterload induced by aortic banding (AB) in wild-type (WT) mice. Mice were anesthetized in a chamber with 4% isoflurane and 95% oxygen before being intubated and ventilated with 2.5% isoflurane and 97% oxygen. For pre- and postoperative analgesia, animals were administered 0.02-mL buprenorphine (0.3 mg/mL) subcutaneously. Surprisingly, mice lacking α11 develop myocardial hypertrophy following AB comparable to WT. In the mice lacking α11, we further show a compensatory increase in the expression of another mechanoreceptor, syndecan-4, following AB compared with WT AB mice, indicating that syndecan-4 compensated for lack of α11. Intriguingly, mice lacking mechanoreceptors α11 and syndecan-4 show ablated myocardial hypertrophy following AB compared with WT mice. Expression of the main cardiac collagen isoforms col1a2 and col3a1 was significantly reduced in AB mice lacking mechanoreceptors α11 and syndecan-4 compared with WT AB.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Despite their putative importance in stress sensing, the specific integrin α-subunit(s) involved in cardiac hypertrophy has not been identified. Here, we show that α11 and syndecan-4 are critical and interdependent mediators of the hypertrophic response to increased LV afterload. We demonstrate in cells lacking both receptors an interdependent reduction in cell attachment to the major cardiac extracellular matrix components, suggesting that their interplay represents an important mechanism for stress sensing in cardiac cells.
Keywords: hypertrophy; integrin; proteoglycan; remodeling.