The cellular prion protein counteracts cardiac oxidative stress

Filippo Zanetti, Andrea Carpi, Roberta Menabò, Marco Giorgio, Rainer Schulz, Guro Valen, Anton Baysa, Maria Lina Massimino, Maria Catia Sorgato, Alessandro Bertoli, Fabio Di Lisa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Aims The cellular prion protein, PrPC, whose aberrant isoforms are related to prion diseases of humans and animals, has a still obscure physiological function. Having observed an increased expression of PrPC in two in vivo paradigms of heart remodelling, we focused on isolated mouse hearts to ascertain the capacity of PrPC to antagonize oxidative damage induced by ischaemic and non-ischaemic protocols. Methods and results Hearts isolated from mice expressing PrPC in variable amounts were subjected to different and complementary oxidative perfusion protocols. Accumulation of reactive oxygen species, oxidation of myofibrillar proteins, and cell death were evaluated. We found that overexpressed PrPC reduced oxidative stress and cell death caused by post-ischaemic reperfusion. Conversely, deletion of PrPC increased oxidative stress during both ischaemic preconditioning and perfusion (15 min) with H2O2. Supporting its relation with intracellular systems involved in oxidative stress, PrPC was found to influence the activity of catalase and, for the first time, the expression of p66Shc, a protein implicated in oxidative stress-mediated cell death. Conclusions Our data demonstrate that PrPC contributes to the cardiac mechanisms antagonizing oxidative insults.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-102
Number of pages10
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1 2014


  • Cellular prion protein
  • Heart
  • Oxidative stress
  • PrP
  • ROS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Medicine(all)


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