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Stromal Cell-SLIT3/Cardiomyocyte-ROBO1 Axis Regulates Pressure Overload-Induced Cardiac Hypertrophy

  • Liu, Xiaoxiao
  • Li, Baolei
  • Wang, Shuyun
  • Zhang, Erge
  • Schultz, Megan
  • Touma, Marlin
  • Da Rocha, Andre Monteiro
  • Evans, Sylvia M
  • Eichmann, Anne
  • Herron, Todd
  • Chen, Ruizhen
  • Xiong, Dingding
  • Jaworski, Alexander
  • Weiss, Stephen
  • Si, Ming-Sing
Publication Date
Mar 29, 2024
eScholarship - University of California
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BackgroundRecently shown to regulate cardiac development, the secreted axon guidance molecule SLIT3 maintains its expression in the postnatal heart. Despite its known expression in the cardiovascular system after birth, SLIT3's relevance to cardiovascular function in the postnatal state remains unknown. As such, the objectives of this study were to determine the postnatal myocardial sources of SLIT3 and to evaluate its functional role in regulating the cardiac response to pressure overload stress.MethodsWe performed in vitro studies on cardiomyocytes and myocardial tissue samples from patients and performed in vivo investigation with SLIT3 and ROBO1 (roundabout homolog 1) mutant mice undergoing transverse aortic constriction to establish the role of SLIT3-ROBO1 in adverse cardiac remodeling.ResultsWe first found that SLIT3 transcription was increased in myocardial tissue obtained from patients with congenital heart defects that caused ventricular pressure overload. Immunostaining of hearts from WT (wild-type) and reporter mice revealed that SLIT3 is secreted by cardiac stromal cells, namely fibroblasts and vascular mural cells, within the heart. Conditioned media from cardiac fibroblasts and vascular mural cells both stimulated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy in vitro, an effect that was partially inhibited by an anti-SLIT3 antibody. Also, the N-terminal, but not the C-terminal, fragment of SLIT3 and the forced overexpression of SLIT3 stimulated cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and the transcription of hypertrophy-related genes. We next determined that ROBO1 was the most highly expressed roundabout receptor in cardiomyocytes and that ROBO1 mediated SLIT3's hypertrophic effects in vitro. In vivo, Tcf21+ fibroblast and Tbx18+ vascular mural cell-specific knockout of SLIT3 in mice resulted in decreased left ventricular hypertrophy and cardiac fibrosis after transverse aortic constriction. Furthermore, α-MHC+ cardiomyocyte-specific deletion of ROBO1 also preserved left ventricular function and abrogated hypertrophy, but not fibrosis, after transverse aortic constriction.ConclusionsCollectively, these results indicate a novel role for the SLIT3-ROBO1-signaling axis in regulating postnatal cardiomyocyte hypertrophy induced by pressure overload.

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