The Wnt/Frizzled pathway as a therapeutic target for cardiac hypertrophy: where do we stand?

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Cardiac hypertrophy is an enlargement of the heart muscle in response to wall stress. This hypertrophic response often leads to heart failure. In recent years, several studies have shown the involvement of Wnt signalling in hypertrophic growth. In this review, the role of Wnt signalling and the possibilities for therapeutic interventions are discussed. In healthy adult heart tissue, Wnt signalling is very low. However, under pathological condition such as hypertension, Wnt signalling is activated. In recent years, it has become clear that both β-catenin-dependent signalling and β-catenin-independent signalling are involved in hypertrophic growth. Several studies, both in vitro and in vivo, have shown that genetic interventions in Wnt signalling at different levels resulted in an attenuated or diminished hypertrophic response. Therefore, inhibition of Wnt signalling could provide a new therapeutic strategy for cardiac hypertrophy, but further research on the Wnts and Frizzleds involved in the different forms of cardiac hypertrophy will be needed to achieve this goal.

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