DUSP8 Regulates Cardiac Ventricular Remodeling by Altering ERK1/2 Signaling

Ruijie Liu, Jop H. van Berlo, Allen J. York, Marjorie Maillet, Ronald J. Vagnozzi, Jeffery D. Molkentin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


Rationale: Mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling regulates the growth response of the adult myocardium in response to increased cardiac workload or pathological insults. The dual-specificity phosphatases (DUSPs) are critical effectors, which dephosphorylate the MAPKs to control the basal tone, amplitude, and duration of MAPK signaling. Objective: To examine DUSP8 as a regulator of MAPK signaling in the heart and its impact on ventricular and cardiac myocyte growth dynamics. Methods and Results: Dusp8 gene-deleted mice and transgenic mice with inducible expression of DUSP8 in the heart were used here to investigate how this MAPK-phosphatase might regulate intracellular signaling and cardiac growth dynamics in vivo. Dusp8 gene-deleted mice were mildly hypercontractile at baseline with a cardiac phenotype of concentric ventricular remodeling, which protected them from progressing towards heart failure in 2 surgery-induced disease models. Cardiac-specific overexpression of DUSP8 produced spontaneous eccentric remodeling and ventricular dilation with heart failure. At the cellular level, adult cardiac myocytes from Dusp8 gene-deleted mice were thicker and shorter, whereas DUSP8 overexpression promoted cardiac myocyte lengthening with a loss of thickness. Mechanistically, activation of extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 were selectively increased in Dusp8 gene-deleted hearts at baseline and following acute pathological stress stimulation, whereas p38 MAPK and c-Jun N-terminal kinases were mostly unaffected. Conclusions: These results indicate that DUSP8 controls basal and acute stress-induced extracellular signal-regulated kinases 1/2 signaling in adult cardiac myocytes that then alters the length-width growth dynamics of individual cardiac myocytes, which further alters contractility, ventricular remodeling, and disease susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-260
Number of pages12
JournalCirculation research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 8 2016

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (to J.D. Molkentin). J.D. Molkentin was also supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. R. Liu and R. Vagnozzi were supported by a training grant from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH; T32HL125204, and F32HL128083, respectively).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 American Heart Association, Inc.


  • dilated cardiomyopathy
  • disease susceptibility
  • dual-specificity phosphatase
  • heart failure
  • myocardium


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