Activation of Akt rescues endoplasmic reticulum stress-impaired murine cardiac contractile function via glycogen synthase kinase-3β-mediated suppression of mitochondrial permeation pore opening.

Research paper by Yingmei Y Zhang, Zhi Z Xia, Karissa H KH La Cour, Jun J Ren

Indexed on: 06 May '11Published on: 06 May '11Published in: Antioxidants & redox signaling


The present study was designed to examine the impact of chronic Akt activation on endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress-induced cardiac mechanical anomalies, if any, and the underlying mechanism involved.Wild-type and transgenic mice with cardiac-specific overexpression of the active mutant of Akt (Myr-Akt) were subjected to the ER stress inducer tunicamycin (1 or 3 mg/kg). ER stress led to compromised echocardiographic (elevated left ventricular end-systolic diameter and reduced fractional shortening) and cardiomyocyte contractile function, intracellular Ca(2+) mishandling, and cell survival in wild-type mice associated with mitochondrial damage. In vitro ER stress induction in murine cardiomyocytes upregulated the ER stress proteins Gadd153, GRP78, and phospho-eIF2α, and promoted reactive oxygen species production, carbonyl formation, apoptosis, mitochondrial membrane potential loss, and mitochondrial permeation pore (mPTP) opening associated with overtly impaired cardiomyocyte contractile and intracellular Ca(2+) properties. Interestingly, these anomalies were mitigated by chronic Akt activation or the ER chaperon tauroursodeoxycholic acid (TUDCA). Treatment with tunicamycin also dephosphorylated Akt and its downstream signal glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) (leading to activation of GSK3β), the effect of which was abrogated by Akt activation and TUDCA. The ER stress-induced cardiomyocyte contractile and mitochondrial anomalies were obliterated by the mPTP inhibitor cyclosporin A, GSK3β inhibitor SB216763, and ER stress inhibitor TUDCA.This research reported the direct relationship between ER stress and cardiomyocyte contractile and mitochondrial anomalies for the first time.Taken together, these data suggest that ER stress may compromise cardiac contractile and intracellular Ca(2+) properties, possibly through the Akt/GSK3β-dependent impairment of mitochondrial integrity.