Endogenous thrombospondin 1 protects the pressure-overloaded myocardium by modulating fibroblast phenotype and matrix metabolism

Ying Xia, Marcin Dobaczewski, Carlos Gonzalez-Quesada, Wei Chen, Anna Biernacka, Na Li, Dong Wook Lee, Nikolaos G. Frangogiannis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

117 Scopus citations


The matricellular protein thrombospondin (TSP) 1 is induced after tissue injury and may regulate reparative responses by activating transforming growth factor-β, by suppressing angiogenesis and by modulating inflammation and matrix metabolism. We hypothesized that endogenous TSP-1 may be involved in the pathogenesis of cardiac remodeling in the pressure-overloaded heart. Myocardial TSP-1 expression was increased in a mouse model of pressure overload because of transverse aortic constriction. TSP-1 -/- mice exhibited increased early hypertrophy and enhanced late dilation in response to pressure overload. Pressure-overloaded TSP-1 null mice had intense degenerative cardiomyocyte changes, exhibiting more extensive sarcomeric loss and sarcolemmal disruption when compared with wild-type hearts. Accentuated hypertrophy and cardiomyocyte injury in TSP-1 -/- hearts was accompanied by increased myofibroblast density. However, despite a 2-fold higher infiltration of the cardiac interstitium with myofibroblasts, pressureoverloaded TSP-1 null hearts did not exhibit significantly increased collagen content when compared with wild-type hearts. The disproportionately low collagen content in TSP-1 null hearts was attributed to infiltration with abundant, but functionally defective, fibroblasts that exhibited impaired myofibroblast differentiation and reduced collagen expression in comparison with wild-type fibroblasts. Impaired myofibroblast activation in TSP-1 null hearts was associated with reduced Smad2 phosphorylation reflecting defective transforming growth factor-β signaling. Moreover, TSP-1 null hearts had increased myocardial matrix metalloproteinase 3 expression and enhanced matrix metalloproteinase 9 activation after pressure overload. TSP-1 upregulation in the pressure-overloaded heart critically regulates fibroblast phenotype and matrix remodeling by activating transforming growth factor-β signaling and by promoting matrix preservation, thus preventing chamber dilation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)902-911
Number of pages10
Issue number5
StatePublished - Nov 2011


  • Cardiac remodeling
  • Collagen
  • Fibrosis
  • Matricellular proteins
  • Myofibroblast
  • Thrombospondin 1
  • Transforming growth factor-

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Internal Medicine


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