American Journal of Pathology vol:166 issue:1 pages:15-25
Left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy is a natural response of the heart to increased pressure loading, but accompanying fibrosis and dilatation may result in irreversible life-threatening heart failure. Matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) have been invoked in various cardiac diseases, however, direct genetic evidence for a role of the plasminogen activator (PA) and MMP systems in pressure overload-induced LV hypertrophy and in heart failure is lacking. Therefore, the consequences of transverse aortic banding (TAB) were analyzed in mice lacking tissue-type PA (t-PA(-/-)), urokinase-type PA (u-PA(-/-)), or gelatinase-B (MMP-9(-/-)), and in wild-type (WT) mice after adenoviral gene transfer of the PA-inhibitor PAI-1 or the MMP-inhibitor TIMP-1. TAB elevated LV pressure comparably in all genotypes. In WT and t-PA(-/-) mice, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy was associated with myocardial fibrosis, LV dilatation and dysfunction, and pump failure after 7 weeks. In contrast, in u-PA(-/-) mice or in WT mice after PAI-1- and TIMP-1-gene transfer, cardiomyocyte hypertrophy was moderate and only minimally associated with cardiac fibrosis and LV dilatation, resulting in better preservation of pump function. Deficiency of MMP-9 had an intermediate effect. These findings suggest that the use of u-PA- or MMP-inhibitors might preserve cardiac pump function in LV pressure overloading.