Long-term overexpression of Hsp70 does not Protect against cardiac dysfunction and adverse remodeling in a MURC transgenic mouse model with chronic heart failure and atrial fibrillation
Previous animal studies had shown that increasing heat shock protein 70 (Hsp70) using a transgenic, gene therapy or pharmacological approach provided cardiac protection in models of acute cardiac stress. Furthermore, clinical studies had reported associations between Hsp70 levels and protection against atrial fibrillation (AF). AF is the most common cardiac arrhythmia presenting in cardiology clinics and is associated with increased rates of heart failure and stroke. Improved therapies for AF and heart failure are urgently required. Despite promising observations in animal studies which targeted Hsp70, we recently reported that increasing Hsp70 was unable to attenuate cardiac dysfunction and pathology in a mouse model which develops heart failure and intermittent AF. Given our somewhat unexpected finding and the extensive literature suggesting Hsp70 provides cardiac protection, it was considered important to assess whether Hsp70 could provide protection in another mouse model of heart failure and AF. The aim of the current study was to determine whether increasing Hsp70 could attenuate adverse cardiac remodeling, cardiac dysfunction and episodes of arrhythmia in a mouse model of heart failure and AF due to overexpression of Muscle-Restricted Coiled-Coil (MURC). Cardiac function and pathology were assessed in mice at approximately 12 months of age. We report here, that chronic overexpression of Hsp70 was unable to provide protection against cardiac dysfunction, conduction abnormalities, fibrosis or characteristic molecular markers of the failing heart. In summary, elevated Hsp70 may provide protection in acute cardiac stress settings, but appears insufficient to protect the heart under chronic cardiac disease conditions.