Why are some amyloidoses systemic? Does hepatic "chaperoning at a distance" prevent cardiac deposition in a transgenic model of human senile systemic (transthyretin) amyloidosis?

Joel N. Buxbaum, Clement Tagoe, Gloria Gallo, John R. Walker, Sunil Kurian, Daniel R. Salomon

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58 Scopus citations


In the human systemic amyloidoses caused by mutant or wild-type transthyretin (TTR), deposition occurs at a distance from the site of synthesis. The TTR synthesized and secreted by the hepatocyte circulates in plasma, then deposits in target tissues far from the producing cell, a pattern reproduced in mice transgenic for multiple copies of the human wild-type TTR gene. By 2 yr of age, half of the transgenic males show cardiac deposition resembling human senile systemic amyloidosis. However, as early as 3 mo of age, when there are no deposits, cardiac gene transcription differs from that of nontransgenic littermates, primarily in the expression of a large number of genes associated with inflammation and the immune response. At 24 mo, the hearts with histologically proven TTR deposits show expression of stress response genes, exuberant mitochondrial gene transcription, and increased expression of genes associated with apoptosis, relative to the hearts without TTR deposition. These 24-mo-old hearts with TTR deposits also show a decrease in transcription of inflammatory genes relative to that in the younger transgenic mice. After 2 yr of expressing large amounts of human TTR, the livers of the transgenic mice without cardiac deposition display chaperone gene expression and evidence of an activated unfolded protein response, while the livers of animals with cardiac TTR deposition display neither, showing increased transcription of interferonresponsive inflammatory genes and those encoding an antioxidant response. With time, in animals with cardiac deposition, it appears that hepatic proteostatic capacity is diminished, exposing the heart to a greater load of misfolded TTR with subsequent extracellular deposition. Hence systemic (cardiac) TTR deposition may be the direct result of the diminution in the distant chaperoning capacity of the liver related to age or long-standing exposure to misfolded TTR, or both.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2283-2293
Number of pages11
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2012


  • Microarrays
  • Protein misfolding diseases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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