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01.11.2018 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 6/2018 Open Access

Basic Research in Cardiology 6/2018

Raf kinase inhibitor protein mediates myocardial fibrosis under conditions of enhanced myocardial oxidative stress

Basic Research in Cardiology > Ausgabe 6/2018
Andrey Kazakov, Rabea A. Hall, Christian Werner, Timo Meier, André Trouvain, Svetlana Rodionycheva, Alexander Nickel, Frank Lammert, Christoph Maack, Michael Böhm, Ulrich Laufs
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The online version of this article (https://​doi.​org/​10.​1007/​s00395-018-0700-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.


Fibrosis is a hallmark of maladaptive cardiac remodelling. Here we report that genome-wide quantitative trait locus (QTL) analyses in recombinant inbred mouse lines of C57BL/6 J and DBA2/J strains identified Raf Kinase Inhibitor Protein (RKIP) as genetic marker of fibrosis progression. C57BL/6 N-RKIP−/− mice demonstrated diminished fibrosis induced by transverse aortic constriction (TAC) or CCl4 (carbon tetrachloride) treatment compared with wild-type controls. TAC-induced expression of collagen Iα2 mRNA, Ki67+ fibroblasts and marker of oxidative stress 8-hydroxyguanosine (8-dOHG)+ fibroblasts as well as the number of fibrocytes in the peripheral blood and bone marrow were markedly reduced in C57BL/6 N-RKIP−/− mice. RKIP-deficient cardiac fibroblasts demonstrated decreased migration and fibronectin production. This was accompanied by a two-fold increase of the nuclear accumulation of nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (Nrf2), the main transcriptional activator of antioxidative proteins, and reduced expression of its inactivators. To test the importance of oxidative stress for this signaling, C57BL/6 J mice were studied. C57BL/6 J, but not the C57BL/6 N-strain, is protected from TAC-induced oxidative stress due to mutation of the nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase gene (Nnt). After TAC surgery, the hearts of Nnt-deficient C57BL/6 J-RKIP−/− mice revealed diminished oxidative stress, increased left ventricular (LV) fibrosis and collagen Iα2 as well as enhanced basal nuclear expression of Nrf2. In human LV myocardium from both non-failing and failing hearts, RKIP-protein correlated negatively with the nuclear accumulation of Nrf2. In summary, under conditions of Nnt-dependent enhanced myocardial oxidative stress induced by TAC, RKIP plays a maladaptive role for fibrotic myocardial remodeling by suppressing the Nrf2-related beneficial effects.

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