NADPH oxidase-4 mediates protection against chronic load-induced stress in mouse hearts by enhancing angiogenesis

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Cardiac failure occurs when the heart fails to adapt to chronic stresses. Reactive oxygen species (ROS)-dependent signaling is implicated in cardiac stress responses, but the role of different ROS sources remains unclear. Here we report that NADPH oxidase-4 (Nox4) facilitates cardiac adaptation to chronic stress. Unlike other Nox proteins, Nox4 activity is regulated mainly by its expression level, which increases in cardiomyocytes under stresses such as pressure overload or hypoxia. To investigate the functional role of Nox4 during the cardiac response to stress, we generated mice with a genetic deletion of Nox4 or a cardiomyocyte-targeted overexpression of Nox4. Basal cardiac function was normal in both models, but Nox4-null animals developed exaggerated contractile dysfunction, hypertrophy, and cardiac dilatation during exposure to chronic overload whereas Nox4-transgenic mice were protected. Investigation of mechanisms underlying this protective effect revealed a significant Nox4-dependent preservation of myocardial capillary density after pressure overload. Nox4 enhanced stress-induced activation of cardiomyocyte hypoxia inducible factor 1 and the release of vascular endothelial growth factor, resulting in increased paracrine angiogenic activity. These data indicate that cardiomyocyte Nox4 is a unique inducible regulator of myocardial angiogenesis, a key determinant of cardiac adaptation to overload stress. Our results also have wider relevance to the use of nonspecific antioxidant approaches in cardiac disease and may provide an explanation for the failure of such strategies in many settings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)18121-6
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of National Academy of Sciences USA
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2010


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