Rac1-Mediated Activation of Mineralocorticoid Receptor in Pressure Overload–Induced Cardiac Injury
There is increasing evidence for a crucial role of aberrant mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) activation in heart failure, with clinical studies showing beneficial effects of MR blockade. However, the mechanisms of MR activation in heart failure remain unclear. In this study, we observed that the small GTPase Rac1 contributes to myocardial MR activation, whereas Rac1-MR pathway activation leads to cardiac dysfunction. Mouse hearts subjected to chronic pressure overload induced by transverse aortic constriction showed Rac1 activation and increased nuclear accumulation of MR and expression of MR target genes, suggesting MR activation. Pharmacological inhibition of Rac1 and heterozygous deletion of Rac1 in cardiomyocytes suppressed Rac1-induced MR signaling and reduced NADPH oxidase 4 gene induction and reactive oxygen species overproduction, which attenuated transverse aortic constriction–induced cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction. Consistently, treatment with the selective MR antagonist eplerenone blocked transverse aortic constriction–induced MR signaling and NADPH oxidase 4 gene upregulation, which improved cardiac hypertrophy and dysfunction. These findings suggest that Rac1-MR pathway activation in the myocardium is involved in development of heart failure induced by pressure load via recruitment of the responsible isoform of NADPH oxidase. Thus, the cardiac Rac1-MR-NADPH oxidase 4 pathway may be a therapeutic target for treatment of the pressure-overloaded heart.
- Received June 30, 2015.
- Revision received July 16, 2015.
- Accepted October 9, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.