Background: To date the TGF-β1 activation mediated by integrin ανβ5 during fibrosis is well-known. This process has been shown also in the heart, where cardiac fibroblasts (CF) differentiate into α-smooth muscle actin (α-SMA)-positive myofibroblasts (MyoFB). Here, we studied the effects on CF, isolated by spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR), of integrin ανβ5 inhibition in MyoFB differentiation. Methods: Staining and immunohistochemistry were performed on rat cardiac tissue. CF were isolated by enzymatic digestion from SHR (SHR-CF) and normotensive WKY (WKY-CF) rat hearts and then treated for in vitro evaluation. Results: SHR heart tissues revealed a higher TGF-β1 expression vs. WKY samples. SHR-CF showed an enhanced SMAD2/3 activation and an up-regulated expression of α-SMA, a typical MyoFB marker, especially after TGF-β1 treatment. Immunostaining on cardiac tissues revealed a higher expression of integrin ανβ5 in SHR vs. WKY rat hearts. In vitro results confirmed the up-regulation of integrin ανβ5 expression in SHR-CF at basal condition and after TGF-β1 treatment, in comparison with WKY-CF. Inhibition of integrin ανβ5 by cilengitide treatment led a decreased expression of ανβ5, collagen I, and α-SMA in SHR-CF vs. WKY-CF, resulting in a diminished differentiation of CF into MyoFB. Taking together, results suggested that SHR-CF are more susceptible to TGF-β1, showing an up-regulated activation of SMAD2/3 signaling, and an increased ανβ5, α-SMA, and collagen I expression. Hypertension stimulus promoted an up-regulation of integrin ανβ5 on SHR cardiac tissue and its in vitro inhibition reverted pro-fibrotic events of SHR-CF. Conclusion: Inhibition of integrin ανβ5 exerted by cilengitide strongly diminished SHR-CF differentiation into detrimental MyoFB. So, integrin ανβ5 might be considered a novel therapeutic target and cilengitide an effective pharmacological tool to limit the progression of hypertension-induced cardiac fibrosis.
- Integrin ανβ5
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)