Cardioprotective Role of Tumor Necrosis Factor Receptor-Associated Factor 2 by Suppressing Apoptosis and Necroptosis

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Abstract

Background:

Programmed cell death, including apoptosis, mitochondria-mediated necrosis, and necroptosis, is critically involved in ischemic cardiac injury, pathological cardiac remodeling, and heart failure progression. Whereas apoptosis and mitochondria-mediated necrosis signaling is well established, the regulatory mechanisms of necroptosis and its significance in the pathogenesis of heart failure remain elusive.

Methods:

We examined the role of tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor 2 (Traf2) in regulating myocardial necroptosis and remodeling using genetic mouse models. We also performed molecular and cellular biology studies to elucidate the mechanisms by which Traf2 regulates necroptosis signaling.

Results:

We identified a critical role for Traf2 in myocardial survival and homeostasis by suppressing necroptosis. Cardiac-specific deletion of Traf2 in mice triggered necroptotic cardiac cell death, pathological remodeling, and heart failure. Plasma tumor necrosis factor α level was significantly elevated in Traf2-deficient mice, and genetic ablation of TNFR1 largely abrogated pathological cardiac remodeling and dysfunction associated with Traf2 deletion. Mechanistically, Traf2 critically regulates receptor-interacting proteins 1 and 3 and mixed lineage kinase domain-like protein necroptotic signaling with the adaptor protein tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated protein with death domain as an upstream regulator and transforming growth factor β-activated kinase 1 as a downstream effector. It is important to note that genetic deletion of RIP3 largely rescued the cardiac phenotype triggered by Traf2 deletion, validating a critical role of necroptosis in regulating pathological remodeling and heart failure propensity.

Conclusions:

These results identify an important Traf2-mediated, NFκB-independent, prosurvival pathway in the heart by suppressing necroptotic signaling, which may serve as a new therapeutic target for pathological remodeling and heart failure.

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