A pyridone derivative activates SERCA2a by attenuating the inhibitory effect of phospholamban

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The cardiac sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-dependent ATPase 2a (SERCA2a) plays a central role in Ca2+ handling within cardiomyocytes and is negatively regulated by phospholamban (PLN), a sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) membrane protein. The activation of SERCA2a, which has been reported to improve cardiac dysfunction in heart failure, is a potential therapeutic approach for heart failure. Therefore, we developed a novel small molecule, compound A and characterized it both in vitro and in vivo. Compound A activated the Ca2+-dependent ATPase activity of cardiac SR vesicles but not that of skeletal muscle SR vesicles that lack PLN. The surface plasmon resonance assay revealed a direct interaction between compound A and PLN, suggesting that the binding of compound A to PLN attenuates its inhibition of SERCA2a, resulting in SERCA2a activation. This was substantiated by inhibition of the compound A-mediated increase in Ca2+ levels within the SR of HL-1 cells by thapsigargin, a SERCA inhibitor. Compound A also increased the Ca2+ transients and contraction and relaxation of isolated adult rat cardiomyocytes. In isolated perfused rat hearts, the compound A enhanced systolic and diastolic functions. Further, an infusion of compound A (30 mg/kg, i.v. bolus followed by 2 mg/kg/min, i.v. infusion) significantly enhanced the diastolic function in anesthetized normal rats. These results indicate that compound A is a novel SERCA2a activator, which attenuates PLN inhibition and enhances the systolic and diastolic functions of the heart in vitro and in vivo. Therefore, compound A might be a novel therapeutic lead for heart failure.

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