Induction of HO-1 by carbon monoxide releasing molecule-2 attenuates thrombin-induced COX-2 expression and hypertrophy in primary human cardiomyocytes

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Carbon monoxide (CO) is one of the cytoprotective byproducts of heme oxygenase (HO)-1 and exerts anti-inflammatory action in various models. However, the detailed mechanisms underlying CO-induced HO-1 expression in primary human cardiomyocytes remain largely unidentified. We used primary left ventricle myocytes as a model and applied CO releasing molecule (CORM)-2 to investigate the relationship of CO and HO-1 expression. We herein used Western blot, real-time PCR, promoter activity and EIA to investigate the role of HO-1 expression protecting against thrombin-mediated responses. We found that thrombin-induced COX-2 expression, PGE2 release and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy markers (increase in ANF/BNP, α-actin expression and cell surface area) was attenuated by pretreatment with CORM-2 which was partially reversed by hemoglobin (Hb) or ZnPP (an inhibitor of HO-1 activity), suggesting that HO-1/CO system may be of clinical importance to ameliorate heart failure through inhibition of inflammatory responses. CORM-2-induced HO-1 protein expression, mRNA and promoter was attenuated by pretreatment with the inhibitors of Pyk2 (PF431396), PDGFR (AG1296), PI3K (LY294002), Akt (SH-5), p38 (SB202530), JNK1/2 (SP600125), FoxO1 (AS1842856) and Sp1 (mithramycin A). The involvement of these signaling components was further confirmed by transfection with respective siRNAs, consistent with those of pharmacological inhibitors. These results suggested that CORM-2-induced HO-1 expression is mediated through a Pyk2/PDGFR/PI3K/Akt/FoxO1/Sp1-dependent manner and exerts a cytoprotective effect in human cardiomyocytes.

Graphical abstract

In summary, CORM-2 treatment induces Pyk2 transactivated PDGFR, which induces PI3K/Akt/MAPK activation, and then recruits Sp1/Foxo1 transcriptional factors to regulate HO-1 gene expression in primary human cardiomyocytes.

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