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2021 - Hypoglycemia Induced Mitochondrial Connexin-43 Accumulation Aggravates Diabetic Cardiomyopathy

icon sp96 CardioExcyte 96 pre-publication in Research Square (2021)

Authors:
Wei X., Chang A.C.H., Chang H., Xu S., Xue Y., Zhang Y., Lei M., Chang A.C.Y., Zhang Q.

Journal:

Research Square (Pre-print server) (2021) doi: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-885699/v1


Abstract: 

Background: Diabetic cardiomyopathy (DCM) is a complex multifaceted disease responsible for elevated hospitalization and mortality in patients with diabetes mellitus (DM). DCM patients exhibit subclinical diastolic dysfunction, progression towards systolic impairment, and abnormal electrophysiology. Hypoglycemia events that occur spontaneously or due to excess insulin administration threaten the lives of DM patients – with the increased risk of sudden death. However, the molecular underpinnings of hypoglycemia-aggravated DCM remain to be elucidated.

Methods and Results: Here we used the established streptozotocin-induced type 1 diabetic cardiomyopathy (T1 DCM) murine model to investigate how hypoglycemia aggravates DCM progression. We showed that chronic hyper- or hypoglycemic challenges dampened cardiac diastolic function in vivo as well as myocardial contractility and calcium handling in isolated cardiomyocytes. Similar contractile defects were recapitulated using neonatal mouse ventricular myocytes (NMVMs) under glucose fluctuation challenges. Using immunoprecipitation mass spectrometry, we identified and validated that hypoglycemia challenge activates the MEK/ERK and PI3K/Akt pathways which results in Cx43 phosphorylation by Src protein in cardiomyocytes. Cx43 dissociation and accumulation at mitochondrial inner membrane was confirmed both in human and murine cardiomyocytes. To determine causality, we overexpressed a mitochondrial targeting Cx43 (mtCx43) using AAV2. At normal blood glucose levels, mtCx43 overexpression recapitulated cardiomyocytes contractile deficiencies, cardiac diastolic dysfunction as well as aberrant electrophysiology both in vitro as well as in vivo.

Conclusions: Hypoglycemia challenges results in the accumulation of mtCx43 through the MEK/ERK/Src and PI3K/Akt/Src pathways. We provide evidence that Cx43 mislocalization is present in diabetes mellitus patient hearts, STZ-induced DCM murine model, and glucose fluctuation challenged NMVMs. Mechanistically, we demonstrated that mtCx43 is responsible for inducing aberrant contraction and disrupts electrophysiology in cardiomyocytes and our results support targeting of mtCx43 in treating DCM.

Translational perspective: Severe hypoglycemia drives cardiac dysfunction and aggressive ventricular arrhythmias in patients with DCM that leads to sudden cardiac death. Here we demonstrate that Cx43 mislocalization to mitochondria occurs upon hypoglycemic challenge and mtCx43 accumulation is responsible for cardiac diastolic dysfunction, cardiomyocyte contractile dysfunction, and aberrant electrophysiology in vivo. Our findings give support for therapeutic targeting of MEK/ERK/Src and PI3K/Akt/Src pathways to prevent mtCx43-driven DCM.


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