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BACKGROUND: Hypertension or aortic stenosis causes pressure overload, which evokes hypertrophic myocardial growth. Sustained cardiac hypertrophy eventually progresses to heart failure. Growing evidence indicates that restraining hypertrophy could be beneficial; here, we discovered that FTY-720, an immunomodulator for treating multiple sclerosis, can reverse existing cardiac hypertrophy/fibrosis. METHODS AND RESULTS: Male C57/Bl6 mice underwent transverse aortic constriction (TAC) for 1 week followed by FTY-720 treatment for 2 weeks under continuing TAC. Compared with vehicle-treated TAC hearts, FTY-720 significantly reduced ventricular mass, ameliorated fibrosis, and improved cardiac performance. Mechanistic studies led us to discover that FTY-720 appreciably inhibited nuclear factor of activated T-cells (NFAT) activity. Moreover, we found that in primary cardiomyocytes (rat and human) pertussis toxin (Gi-coupled receptor inhibitor) substantially blocked the antihypertrophic effect of FTY-720. This observation was confirmed in a mouse model of pressure overload. Interestingly, gene array analysis of TAC hearts revealed that FTY-720 profoundly decreased gene expression of a group of matricellular proteins, of which periostin was prominent. Analysis of periostin protein expression in TAC-myocardium, as well as in rat and human cardiac fibroblasts, confirmed the array data. Moreover, we found that FTY-720 treatment or knockdown of periostin protein was able to inhibit transforming growth factor-β responsiveness and decrease collagen expression. CONCLUSIONS: FTY-720 alleviates existing cardiac hypertrophy/fibrosis through mechanisms involving negative regulation of NFAT activity in cardiomyocytes and reduction of periostin expression allowing for a more homeostatic extracellular compartment milieu. Together, FTY-720 or its analogues could be a promising new approach for treating hypertrophic/fibrotic heart disease.

Original publication




Journal article


Circ Heart Fail

Publication Date





833 - 844


FTY-720, NFAT, cardiac hypertrophy, fibrosis, periostin, Animals, Animals, Newborn, Cardiomegaly, Cell Adhesion Molecules, Cells, Cultured, Fibroblasts, Fibrosis, Fingolimod Hydrochloride, Hemodynamics, Immunosuppressive Agents, Male, Mice, Mice, Inbred C57BL, Myocardium, NFATC Transcription Factors, Propylene Glycols, Rats, Rats, Sprague-Dawley, Sphingosine, Ventricular Pressure