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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

The role of the Hsp90/Akt pathway in myocardial calpain-induced caspase-3 activation and apoptosis during sepsis

Xiaoping Li12*, Rong Luo3, Rongjian Jiang2, Xianmin Meng4, Xiushan Wu3, Shu Zhang1 and Wei Hua1*

Author Affiliations

1 Cardiac Arrhythmia Center, State Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Disease, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100037, P.R. China

2 Department of Cardiology, Sichuan Provincial People’s Hospital, Chengdu 610072, P.R. China

3 The Center of Heart Development, Key Lab of MOE for Development Biology and Protein Chemistry, College of Life Science, Hunan Normal University, Changsha, Hunan 410081, PR China

4 Central Laboratory, State Key Laboratory of Cardiovascular Disease, Fuwai Hospital, National Center for Cardiovascular Diseases, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences and Peking Union Medical College, Beijing 100037, People’s Republic of China

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2013, 13:8  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-13-8

Published: 20 February 2013

Abstract

Background

Recent studies have demonstrated that myocardial calpain triggers caspase-3 activation and myocardial apoptosis in models of sepsis, whereas the inhibition of calpain activity down-regulates myocardial caspase-3 activation and apoptosis. However, the mechanism underlying this pathological process is unclear. Therefore, in this study, our aim was to explore whether the Hsp90/Akt signaling pathway plays a role in the induction of myocardial calpain activity, caspase-3 activation and apoptosis in the septic mice.

Methods

Adult male C57 mice were injected with lipopolysaccharide (LPS, 4 mg/kg, i.p.) to induce sepsis. Next, myocardial caspase-3 activity and the levels of Hsp90/p-Akt (phospho-Akt) proteins were detected, and apoptotic cells were assessed by performing the TUNEL assay.

Results

In the septic mice, there was an increase in myocardial calpain and caspase-3 activity in addition to an increase in the number of apoptotic cells; however, there was a time-dependent decrease in myocardial Hsp90/p-Akt protein levels. The administration of calpain inhibitors (calpain inhibitor-Ш or PD150606) prevented the LPS-induced degradation of myocardial Hsp90/p-Akt protein and its expression in cardiomyocytes in addition to inhibiting myocardial caspase-3 activation and apoptosis. The inhibition of Hsp90 by pretreatment with 17-AAG induced p-Akt degradation, and the inhibition of Akt activity by pretreatment with wortmannin resulted in caspase-3 activation in wildtype C57 murine heart tissues.

Conclusions

Myocardial calpain induces myocardial caspase-3 activation and apoptosis in septic mice via the activation of the Hsp90/Akt pathway.

Keywords:
Calpain; Hsp90/Akt; Caspase-3 activation; Apoptosis; Sepsis