Dexamethasone treatment of newborn rats inhibited cardiomyocyte proliferation and stimulated premature terminal differentiation of cardiomyocytes in the developing heart. Yet mechanisms remain undetermined. The present study tested the hypothesis that the direct effect of glucocorticoid receptor-mediated epigenetic repression of cyclin D2 gene in the cardiomyocyte plays a key role in the dexamethasone-mediated effects in the developing heart. Cardiomyocytes were isolated from 2-day-old rats. Cells were stained with a cardiomyocyte marker α-actinin and a proliferation marker Ki67. Cyclin D2 expression was evaluated by Western blot and quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction. Promoter methylation of CcnD2 was determined by methylated DNA immunoprecipitation (MeDIP). Overexpression of Cyclin D2 was conducted by transfection of FlexiCcnD2 (+CcnD2) construct. Treatment of cardiomyocytes isolated from newborn rats with dexamethasone for 48 hours significantly inhibited cardiomyocyte proliferation with increased binucleation and decreased cyclin D2 protein abundance. These effects were blocked with Ru486 (mifepristone). In addition, the dexamethasone treatment significantly increased cyclin D2 gene promoter methylation in newborn rat cardiomyocytes. 5-Aza-2'-deoxycytidine inhibited dexamethasone-mediated promoter methylation, recovered dexamethasone-induced cyclin D2 gene repression, and blocked the dexamethasone-elicited effects on cardiomyocyte proliferation and binucleation. In addition, the overexpression of cyclin D2 restored the dexamethasone-mediated inhibition of proliferation and increase in binucleation in newborn rat cardiomyocytes. The results demonstrate that dexamethasone acting on glucocorticoid receptors has a direct effect and inhibits proliferation and stimulates premature terminal differentiation of cardiomyocytes in the developing heart via epigenetic repression of cyclin D2 gene.
- Received March 31, 2016.
- Accepted June 7, 2016.
This study was supported by the National Institutes of Health National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute [Grant HL118861].
- Copyright © 2016 by The American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics