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Cardiomyocyte-Specific Expression of Lamin A Improves Cardiac Function in Lmna−/− Mice


Lmna(-/-) mice display multiple tissue defects and die by 6-8 weeks of age reportedly from dilated cardiomyopathy with associated conduction defects. We sought to determine whether restoration of lamin A in cardiomyocytes improves cardiac function and extends the survival of Lmna(-/-) mice. We observed increased total desmin protein levels and disorganization of the cytoplasmic desmin network in ~20% of Lmna(-/-) ventricular myocytes, rescued in a cell-autonomous manner in Lmna(-/-) mice expressing a cardiac-specific lamin A transgene (Lmna(-/-); Tg). Lmna(-/-); Tg mice displayed significantly increased contractility and preservation of myocardial performance compared to Lmna(-/-) mice. Lmna(-/-); Tg mice attenuated ERK1/2 phosphorylation relative to Lmna(-/-) mice, potentially underlying the improved localization of connexin43 to the intercalated disc. Electrocardiographic recordings from Lmna(-/-) mice revealed arrhythmic events and increased frequency of PR interval prolongation, which is partially rescued in Lmna(-/-); Tg mice. These findings support our observation that Lmna(-/-); Tg mice have a 12% median extension in lifespan compared to Lmna(-/-) mice. While significant, Lmna(-/-); Tg mice only have modest improvement in cardiac function and survival likely stemming from the observation that only 40% of Lmna(-/-); Tg cardiomyocytes have detectable lamin A expression. Cardiomyocyte-specific restoration of lamin A in Lmna(-/-) mice improves heart-specific pathology and extends lifespan, demonstrating that the cardiac pathology of Lmna(-/-) mice limits survival. The expression of lamin A is sufficient to rescue certain cellular defects associated with loss of A-type lamins in cardiomyocytes in a cell-autonomous fashion.

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