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Maden C.H.,University College London | Gomes J.,University College London | Schwarz Q.,University College London | Davidson K.,University College London | And 3 more authors.
Developmental Biology

The sympathetic nervous system (SNS) arises from neural crest (NC) cells during embryonic development and innervates the internal organs of vertebrates to modulate their stress response. NRP1 and NRP2 are receptors for guidance cues of the class 3 semaphorin (SEMA) family and are expressed in partially overlapping patterns in sympathetic NC cells and their progeny. By comparing the phenotypes of mice lacking NRP1 or its ligand SEMA3A with mice lacking NRP1 in the sympathetic versus vascular endothelial cell lineages, we demonstrate that SEMA3A signalling through NRP1 has multiple cell-autonomous roles in SNS development. These roles include neuronal cell body positioning, neuronal aggregation and axon guidance, first during sympathetic chain assembly and then to regulate the innervation of the heart and aorta. Loss of NRP2 or its ligand SEMA3F impaired sympathetic gangliogenesis more mildly than loss of SEMA3A/NRP1 signalling, but caused ectopic neurite extension along the embryonic aorta. The analysis of compound mutants lacking SEMA3A and SEMA3F or NRP1 and NRP2 in the SNS demonstrated that both signalling pathways cooperate to organise the SNS. We further show that abnormal sympathetic development in mice lacking NRP1 in the sympathetic lineage has functional consequences, as it causes sinus bradycardia, similar to mice lacking SEMA3A. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. Source

Lambiase P.D.,University College London | Tinker A.,William Harvey Heart Center
Cell and Tissue Research

Connexins are essential in the propagation of electrical activity throughout the heart and are an important determinant of conduction velocity. Their dysfunction is an important factor in the genesis of abnormal cardiac rhythm and is relevant to the pathogenesis of a wide variety of cardiac pathologies. Here, we review the basic biology of connexins in the heart but particularly focus on their abnormal function in cardiac disease. © 2014, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg. Source

Sciarretta S.,I.R.C.C.S Neuromed | Marchitti S.,I.R.C.C.S Neuromed | Bianchi F.,I.R.C.C.S Neuromed | Moyes A.,William Harvey Heart Center | And 13 more authors.
Circulation Research

Rationale: C2238 atrial natriuretic peptide (ANP) minor allele (substitution of thymidine with cytosine in position 2238) associates with increased risk of cardiovascular events. Objective: We investigated the mechanisms underlying the vascular effects of C2238-αANP. Methods and Results: In vitro, human umbilical vein endothelial cell were exposed to either wild-type (T2238)- or mutant (C2238)-αANP. Cell survival and apoptosis were tested by Trypan blue, annexin V, and cleaved caspase-3 assays. C2238-αANP significantly reduced human umbilical vein endothelial cell survival and increased apoptosis. In addition, C2238-αANP reduced endothelial tube formation, as assessed by matrigel. C2238-αANP did not differentially modulate natriuretic peptide receptor (NPR)-A/B activity with respect to T2238-αANP, as evaluated by intracellular cGMP levels. In contrast, C2238-αANP, but not T2238-αANP, markedly reduced intracellular cAMP levels in an NPR-C-dependent manner. Accordingly, C2238-αANP showed higher affinity binding to NPR-C, than T2238-αANP. Either NPR-C inhibition by antisense oligonucleotide or NPR-C gene silencing by small interfering RNA rescued survival and tube formation of human umbilical vein endothelial cell exposed to C2238-αANP. Similar data were obtained in human aortic endothelial cell with NPR-C knockdown. NPR-C activation by C2238-αANP inhibited the protein kinase A/Akt1 pathway and increased reactive oxygen species. Adenovirusmediated Akt1 reactivation rescued the detrimental effects of C2238-αANP. Overall, these data indicate that C2238-αANP affects endothelial cell integrity through NPR-C-dependent inhibition of the cAMP/protein kinase A/Akt1 pathway and increased reactive oxygen species production. Accordingly, C2238-αANP caused impairment of acetylcholine-dependent vasorelaxation ex vivo, which was rescued by NPR-C pharmacological inhibition. Finally, subjects carrying C2238 minor allele showed early endothelial dysfunction, which highlights the clinical relevance of our results. Conclusions: C2238-αANP reduces endothelial cell survival and impairs endothelial function through NPR-C signaling. NPR-C targeting represents a potential strategy to reduce cardiovascular risk in C2238 minor-allele carriers. © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc. Source

Telezhkin V.,University College London | Reilly J.M.,University College London | Thomass A.M.,William Harvey Heart Center | Tinkers A.,William Harvey Heart Center | Brown D.A.,University College London
Journal of Biological Chemistry

M-channels are voltage-gated potassium channels that regulate cell excitability. They are heterotetrameric assemblies of Kv7.2 and Kv7.3 subunits. Their opening requires the presence of the membrane phospholipid phosphatidylinositol 4,5-bisphosphate (PI(4,5)P 2). However, the specificity of PI(4,5)P 2 as a binding and activating ligand is unknown. Here, we tested the ability of different phosphoinositides and lipid phosphates to activate or bind to M-channel proteins. Activation of functional channels was measured in membrane patches isolated from cells coexpressing Kv7.2 and Kv7.3 subunits. Channels were activated to similar extents (maximum open probability of ∼0.8 at 0 mV) by 0.1-300 μM dioctanoyl homologs of the three endogenous phosphoinositides, PI(4)P, PI(4,5)P 2, and PI(3,4,5)P 3, with sensitivity increasing with increasing numbers of phosphates. Non-acylated inositol phosphates had no effect up to 100 μM. Channels were also activated with increasing efficacy by 1-300 μM concentrations of the monoacyl monophosphates fingolimod phosphate, sphingosine 1-phosphate, and lysophosphatidic acid but not by phosphate-free fingolimod or sphingosine or by phosphate-masked phosphatidylcholine or phosphatidyl-glycerol. An overlay assay confirmed that a fusion protein containing the full-lengthCterminus of Kv7.2 could bind to a broad range of phosphoinositides and phospholipids.Amutated Kv7.2 C-terminal construct with reduced sensitivity to PI(4,5)P showed significantly less binding to most polyphosphoinositides. We concluded that M-channels bind to, and are activated by, a wide range of lipid phosphates, with a minimum requirement for an acyl chain and a phosphate headgroup. In this, they more closely resemble inwardly rectifying Kir6.2 potassium channels than the more PI(4,5)P 2-specific Kir2 channels. Not-withstanding, the data also support the view that the main endogenous activator of M-channels is PI(4,5)P 2. © 2012 by The American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Inc. Source

Machhada A.,University College London | Machhada A.,Biomedical Imaging Center | Ang R.,University College London | Ang R.,William Harvey Heart Center | And 8 more authors.
Heart Rhythm

Background The central nervous origins of functional parasympathetic innervation of cardiac ventricles remain controversial. Objective This study aimed to identify a population of vagal preganglionic neurons that contribute to the control of ventricular excitability. An animal model of synuclein pathology relevant to Parkinson's disease was used to determine whether age-related loss of the activity of the identified group of neurons is associated with changes in ventricular electrophysiology. Methods In vivo cardiac electrophysiology was performed in anesthetized rats in conditions of selective inhibition of the dorsal vagal motor nucleus (DVMN) neurons by pharmacogenetic approach and in mice with global genetic deletion of all family members of the synuclein protein. Results In rats anesthetized with urethane (in conditions of systemic beta-adrenoceptor blockade), muscarinic and neuronal nitric oxide synthase blockade confirmed the existence of a tonic parasympathetic control of cardiac excitability mediated by the actions of acetylcholine and nitric oxide. Acute DVMN silencing led to shortening of the ventricular effective refractory period (vERP), a lowering of the threshold for triggered ventricular tachycardia, and prolongation of the corrected QT (QTc) interval. Lower resting activity of the DVMN neurons in aging synuclein-deficient mice was found to be associated with vERP shortening and QTc interval prolongation. Conclusion Activity of the DVMN vagal preganglionic neurons is responsible for tonic parasympathetic control of ventricular excitability, likely to be mediated by nitric oxide. These findings provide the first insight into the central nervous substrate that underlies functional parasympathetic innervation of the ventricles and highlight its vulnerability in neurodegenerative diseases. © 2015 Heart Rhythm Society. Source

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