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Piezo1 Channel as a Potential Target for Hindering Cardiac Fibrotic Remodeling


Fibrotic tissues share many common features with neoplasms where there is an increased stiffness of the extracellular matrix (ECM). In this review, we present recent discoveries related to the role of the mechanosensitive ion channel Piezo1 in several diseases, especially in regulating tumor progression, and how this can be compared with cardiac mechanobiology. Based on recent findings, Piezo1 could be upregulated in cardiac fibroblasts as a consequence of the mechanical stress and pro-inflammatory stimuli that occurs after myocardial injury, and its increased activity could be responsible for a positive feedback loop that leads to fibrosis progression. The increased Piezo1-mediated calcium flow may play an important role in cytoskeleton reorganization since it induces actin stress fibers formation, a well-known characteristic of fibroblast transdifferentiation into the activated myofibroblast. Moreover, Piezo1 activity stimulates ECM and cytokines production, which in turn promotes the phenoconversion of adjacent fibroblasts into new myofibroblasts, enhancing the invasive character. Thus, by assuming the Piezo1 involvement in the activation of intrinsic fibroblasts, recruitment of new myofibroblasts, and uncontrolled excessive ECM production, a new approach to blocking the fibrotic progression can be predicted. Therefore, targeted therapies against Piezo1 could also be beneficial for cardiac fibrosis.

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