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WNT/β-Catenin Signaling Promotes TGF-β-Mediated Activation of Human Cardiac Fibroblasts by Enhancing IL-11 Production


Działo, Edyta; Czepiel, Marcin; Tkacz, Karolina; Siedlar, Maciej; Kania, Gabriela; Błyszczuk, Przemysław (2021). WNT/β-Catenin Signaling Promotes TGF-β-Mediated Activation of Human Cardiac Fibroblasts by Enhancing IL-11 Production. International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 22(18):10072.

Abstract

Cardiac fibrosis is a pathological process associated with the development of heart failure. TGF-β and WNT signaling have been implicated in pathogenesis of cardiac fibrosis, however, little is known about molecular cross-talk between these two pathways. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of exogenous canonical WNT3a and non-canonical WNT5a in TGF-β-activated human cardiac fibroblasts. We found that WNT3a and TGF-β induced a β-catenin-dependent response, whereas WNT5a prompted AP-1 activity. TGF-β triggered profibrotic signatures in cardiac fibroblasts, and co-stimulation with WNT3a or co-activation of the β-catenin pathway with the GSK3β inhibitor CHIR99021 enhanced collagen I and fibronectin production and development of active contractile stress fibers. In the absence of TGF-β, neither WNT3a nor CHIR99021 exerted profibrotic responses. On a molecular level, in TGF-β-activated fibroblasts, WNT3a enhanced phosphorylation of TAK1 and production and secretion of IL-11 but showed no effect on the Smad pathway. Neutralization of IL-11 activity with the blocking anti-IL-11 antibody effectively reduced the profibrotic response of cardiac fibroblasts activated with TGF-β and WNT3a. In contrast to canonical WNT3a, co-activation with non-canonical WNT5a suppressed TGF-β-induced production of collagen I. In conclusion, WNT/β-catenin signaling promotes TGF-β-mediated fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition by enhancing IL-11 production. Thus, the uncovered mechanism broadens our knowledge on a molecular basis of cardiac fibrogenesis and defines novel therapeutic targets for fibrotic heart diseases.

Abstract

Cardiac fibrosis is a pathological process associated with the development of heart failure. TGF-β and WNT signaling have been implicated in pathogenesis of cardiac fibrosis, however, little is known about molecular cross-talk between these two pathways. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of exogenous canonical WNT3a and non-canonical WNT5a in TGF-β-activated human cardiac fibroblasts. We found that WNT3a and TGF-β induced a β-catenin-dependent response, whereas WNT5a prompted AP-1 activity. TGF-β triggered profibrotic signatures in cardiac fibroblasts, and co-stimulation with WNT3a or co-activation of the β-catenin pathway with the GSK3β inhibitor CHIR99021 enhanced collagen I and fibronectin production and development of active contractile stress fibers. In the absence of TGF-β, neither WNT3a nor CHIR99021 exerted profibrotic responses. On a molecular level, in TGF-β-activated fibroblasts, WNT3a enhanced phosphorylation of TAK1 and production and secretion of IL-11 but showed no effect on the Smad pathway. Neutralization of IL-11 activity with the blocking anti-IL-11 antibody effectively reduced the profibrotic response of cardiac fibroblasts activated with TGF-β and WNT3a. In contrast to canonical WNT3a, co-activation with non-canonical WNT5a suppressed TGF-β-induced production of collagen I. In conclusion, WNT/β-catenin signaling promotes TGF-β-mediated fibroblast-to-myofibroblast transition by enhancing IL-11 production. Thus, the uncovered mechanism broadens our knowledge on a molecular basis of cardiac fibrogenesis and defines novel therapeutic targets for fibrotic heart diseases.

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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Rheumatology Clinic and Institute of Physical Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > Catalysis
Life Sciences > Molecular Biology
Physical Sciences > Spectroscopy
Physical Sciences > Computer Science Applications
Physical Sciences > Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
Physical Sciences > Organic Chemistry
Physical Sciences > Inorganic Chemistry
Language:English
Date:17 September 2021
Deposited On:16 Nov 2021 15:23
Last Modified:25 Feb 2024 02:48
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:1422-0067
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/ijms221810072
PubMed ID:34576234
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)