Pharmacologic inhibition of the enzymatic effects of tissue transglutaminase reduces cardiac fibrosis and attenuates cardiomyocyte hypertrophy following pressure overload

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Tissue transglutaminase (tTG) is a multifunctional protein with a wide range of enzymatic and non-enzymatic functions. We have recently demonstrated that tTG expression is upregulated in the pressure-overloaded myocardium and exerts fibrogenic actions promoting diastolic dysfunction, while preventing chamber dilation. Our current investigation dissects the in vivo and in vitro roles of the enzymatic effects of tTG on fibrotic remodeling in pressure-overloaded myocardium. Using a mouse model of transverse aortic constriction, we demonstrated perivascular and interstitial tTG activation in the remodeling pressure-overloaded heart. tTG inhibition through administration of the selective small molecule tTG inhibitor ERW1041E attenuated left ventricular diastolic dysfunction and reduced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy and interstitial fibrosis in the pressure-overloaded heart, without affecting chamber dimensions and ejection fraction. In vivo, tTG inhibition markedly reduced myocardial collagen mRNA and protein levels and attenuated transcription of fibrosis-associated genes. In contrast, addition of exogenous recombinant tTG to fibroblast-populated collagen pads had no significant effects on collagen transcription, and instead increased synthesis of matrix metalloproteinase (MMP)3 and tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases (TIMP)1 through transamidase-independent actions. However, enzymatic effects of matrix-bound tTG increased the thickness of pericellular collagen in fibroblast-populated pads. tTG exerts distinct enzymatic and non-enzymatic functions in the remodeling pressure-overloaded heart. The enzymatic effects of tTG are fibrogenic and promote diastolic dysfunction, but do not directly modulate the pro-fibrotic transcriptional program of fibroblasts. Targeting transamidase-dependent actions of tTG may be a promising therapeutic strategy in patients with heart failure and fibrosis-associated diastolic dysfunction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)36-48
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Apr 2018



  • Cardiac fibrosis
  • Extracellular matrix
  • Fibroblast
  • Tissue transglutaminase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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